Thursday 22 February 2018

Army dog breaks bomb-finding record

L/Cpl Liam Tasker with springer spaniel cross Theo, who has broken the record for finding the most homemade bombs
L/Cpl Liam Tasker with springer spaniel cross Theo, who has broken the record for finding the most homemade bombs

An Army springer spaniel cross is leading a dogged defence in Afghanistan after breaking the record for finding the most homemade bombs and weapons.

Theo, 22 months, is giving the enemy the runaround in Helmand province by making 14 finds of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and weapons caches in just five months.

The search dog, part of the Theatre Military Working Dogs Support Unit (TMWDSU), is based at Camp Bastion with handler Lance Corporal Liam Tasker.

Theo is on his first tour of duty in Afghanistan, which usually lasts six months, before returning home for a break at MoD North Luffenham in Rutland. But thanks to his amazing success his tour has been extended.

L/Cpl Tasker applauded Theo for being the "front" man of the patrol.

He said: "I love my job and working together with Theo. He has a great character and never tires. He can't wait to get out and do his job and will stop at nothing."

Before going to Afghanistan Theo had to undergo a rigorous period of training to ensure he would meet the highest standards expected of the dogs in the TMWDSU. The first stage was 16 weeks' basic training and assessment before being given to a handler.

Theo and L/Cpl Tasker then spent 15 weeks on a handler's course, where man and dog learn to work as a team.

The soldier initially joined the Army as a mechanic and spent six years with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

He did not know the TMWDSU existed until a friend showed him some videos of the dogs in action, when he decided to switch jobs and has not regretted it for a second, he said.

Press Association

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