Special Ops Canines Train Like They Fight

CAMP LEJEUNE, NC – Marine military working dog handlers with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command trained with their multipurpose canines (MPC) to prepare for a wide array of missions that include fast roping and Special Patrol Insertion/Extraction training (SPIE), on Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Though fast roping and SPIE rigging with canines is not new to the special operations world, this is the first time the program has been tested with a Marine Corps unit.

“We try to give our MPC dogs as much exposure to different environments so there’s nothing the dogs won’t try and partake in along with the critical skills operators (CSO),” said the MPC program manager. “If CSOs are jumping, rappelling, SPIE rigging or fast roping, we need our MPC handlers and dogs to be ready to do the same, and that is why we are developing the MPC SOP (standard operating procedures) for MARSOC.”

The training was conducted in order to bring the Special Operation Capabilities Specialists (SOCS-D (Multipurpose Canine Handler)) to U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) standards so the dogs and SOCS-Ds are qualified to utilize the USSOCOM platforms and accompany CSOs on missions.

“We really need to push our insert capabilities with our dogs,” said an SOCS-D with MARSOC. “No longer will it just be in and out of vehicles and running air ops. Now we are learning techniques on different platforms.”

The MARSOC program merges the fast rope, rappel and SPIE masters into one program to meet SOCOM standards, said a CSO assigned as an instructor to Marine Corps Special Operations School.

The purpose is to qualify every SOCS-D so they can be incorporated into the Marine Special Operations Team with operators knowing their full capabilities. MARSOC continues to develop the program in order to align itself with SOCOM standards.

“It has been an educational and eye-opening experience, utilizing all these different platforms and techniques that allow us to break new ground,” said the MPC kennel master. “Not only has it been a learning experience for the handlers and dogs, but also for the (Helicopter Rope Suspension Training) Masters and CSOs. The operators need to know how the dog handlers work and how they are going to utilize the dogs, whether it’s fast roping or rappelling.”


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