US Army Vets Visit UK’s Defence Animal Centre
Forming Stronger Ties Between the US Army Veterinary Corps and the Royal Army Veterinary Services
Public Health Command Europe leadership visited the United Kingdom’s Defence Animal Centre in Melton Mowbray, United Kingdom on Feb. 23. The purpose of the visit was to learn about the Centre, its mission capabilities and to develop the relationship between the US Army Veterinary Corps and the Royal Army Veterinary Services.
“The Royal Army Veterinary Service is one of the larger veterinary military organizations in NATO and, without a doubt, one of our key partners worldwide,” said Col. Steve Greiner, Public Health Command Europe commander.
The DAC is the training hub for all Military Working Dogs and Military Ceremonial Horses within the United Kingdom and is comprised of three training squadrons: Canine Training Squadron, Equine Training Squadron and Veterinary Training Squadron.
Lt. Col. Mark Morrison, the Defence Animal Centre commanding officer, explained that these squadrons collectively procure dogs and horses on behalf of the UK Ministry of Defence, provide veterinary care to the working animals, as well as train animals, handlers, riders, and farriers within their ranks.
The visit included an extensive tour of the facility to learn more about the capabilities of the Defence Animal Centre.
The Defence Animal Centre can perform minor surgical procedures, provide dental care and conduct rehabilitation treatment for its Military Working Dogs. While away from the central facility, civilian veterinarians provide care for the United Kingdom’s Military Working Dogs.
In addition to veterinary care, the facility provides Military Working Dog handler training and veterinary training for the Royal Army veterinary technicians. Currently, their technicians are training at civilian practices to ensure they receive the appropriate case load to become a registered technician.
Along with the Military Working Dog mission, the Defence Animal Centre provides extensive care for equine regiments to include the Household Calvary Regiment, the Household Division and the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery. For patient specialty care as well as cultivating proficiency for the UK military veterinary provider staff, the Defence Animal Centre has an agreement with the University of Nottingham School of Veterinary Medicine to provide extensive care to their horses.
he Defence Animal Centre also operates the Army School of Equitation, where Soldiers and horses learn ceremonial riding, as well as the Army School of Farriery, an apprenticeship program for Soldiers to become registered farriers.
According to Greiner, the visit to the Defence Animal Centre was a great success.
“In support of USAREUR and RHCE Commanding Generals’ vision of building interoperability with our NATO Allies and partner nations, we came away from our visit with a way-ahead to develop a Memorandum of Partnership to build and strengthen the enduring relationship with one of our oldest and closest Allies for many years to come.” Greiner said.
The memorandum will incorporate and codify approaches to partnering throughout the Military Working Dog lifecycle, in addition to potentially conducting Royal Army Veterinary Service technician training at either the UK Branch Royal Air Force Feltwell Veterinary Treatment Facility or at PHCE’s large primary and referral veterinary hospital Dog Center Europe, at Pulaski Barracks, Germany.
The partnership agreement will also create a framework for the US Army veterinary staff from the UK Branch to assist with the Royal Army Veterinary Service mission and learn more about their operations.
The teams are projected to meet in April to discuss details of the memorandum and visit the Dog Center Europe. LTC Morrison and his staff were also formally invited to the International Military Veterinary Medical Symposium in May 2017. This symposium has been the premier veterinary military continuing education and military veterinary interoperability event for over sixty years and is being hosted by Public Health Command Europe.
Source: US Army (USAREUR)