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Sunday, 21 September 2014

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Whitehaven dog handler to look for roadside bombs in Afghanistan

A RAF police dog handler from Whitehaven is heading out to Afghanistan.

Rebecca Rothery photo
Rebecca Rothery with one of her previous dogs

Rebecca Rothery, 22, of Corkickle, will work with her Belgian Malinois dog Garret, in an advanced search team to detect deadly improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and destroy them.

She will help to clear routes to enable patrols to move around and also prevent local people from stepping on the mines.

Rebecca has been in the military since she was 18 and has already completed one tour of Iraq as well as going to Canada and America.

In Iraq, Rebecca was on the tactical police wing doing force protection. She helped to run one of the main gates, dealt with post-attack recovery and was involved in searching women and children.

“It was brilliant for the women there to see a woman in a position of power,” said Rebecca. “It was empowering for them.

“It was my first operational tour, I learned a lot and you definitely grow up a lot. I was a little apprehensive at first because it’s an unknown. But you do a few weeks’ acclimatisation and they give you time to settle in.

“The guys are great, they accept you and you are treated like one of them, they have a bit of banter.”

Rebecca, a corporal, leaves for Afghanistan in March and will be there for six months attached to the Royal Army Veterinary Corps. In preparation she is doing six months of pre-deployment training in Aldershot.

“I am a bit nervous but I am looking forward to it because it’s a different experience,” she said.

Rebecca went to Whitehaven School.

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