Preparing for Afghanistan
Members of the Tactical Explosives Detection Dog Platoon of the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Brigade Combat Team load their equipment on a charter bus after a small ceremony Saturday. The TEDD platoon departed Fort Drum more than two months before the brigade's deployment to receive specialized training with their dogs.

FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- The first platoon from 2nd Security Forces Assistance Brigade to depart for Afghanistan assembled at the 2nd Brigade Combat Team headquarters early Saturday morning to receive final guidance and to say goodbye to Family Members.

The 2nd SFAB is what those members of 2nd BCT will be called when they deploy down range. The Soldiers who departed are a part of Tactical Explosive Detection Dog platoon, or TEDD, and will first undergo offsite training.

"Make no mistake, what you're going to learn is important," said Lt. Col. Robert Ryan, deputy commander 2nd BCT, 10th Mountain Division (LI). "Your work in theater will save lives."

The TEDD platoon is a group of Soldiers from within the brigade who volunteered to receive special training in dog handling and explosives detection.

Volunteers had to first pass a special screening and selection before being chosen as a TEDD handler.

After departing Fort Drum, the platoon will spend one month in Denver, Ind., where Soldiers will undergo professional K-9 training at Vohne Liche Kennels. At the facility, they also will be paired with their dogs and learn how to handle them.

Once paired, handlers will not separate from their dogs and will continue their training through the holidays.

"Our mission's importance can't be (overstated)," said 1st Lt. Ross Mitchell, TEDD platoon leader. "These guys are all volunteers, and training through the holidays is a sacrifice they are willing to make."

After completing K-9 training, the platoon will travel to another location where they will receive three weeks of specialized training on explosives detection. After an additional week of testing, they will be certified TEDD handlers.

Their final destination is Afghanistan. They will travel independently and meet the brigade in theater.

Most military working dogs are dual purposed as a patrol dog, narcotics detector and / or explosive detector. TEDD platoons are specialized in explosive detection only. The single purpose is to ensure focus on the task and reduce risk to the force.

Page last updated Thu November 15th, 2012 at 00:00