Bastion patrol dog sinks its teeth into boss for charity 05 January 2011
Lt Col Jez Hair is attacked by Patrol Dog Rex as part of Bite The Boss.
It was a sunny New Year's Day at Camp Bastion as five Commanding Officers lined up to find out who would be running for his life from an attack dog - all in the name of charity - but he would be given a bite suit to wear.
The UK Medical Group J1 (Administration) Cell arranged for all the COs at Camp Bastion to be placed as ‘volunteers’ into a ‘Bite Pile’, whereby unit personnel battled it out over the weeks leading up to the end of 2010, to raise the most money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Whichever unit topped the New Year's Eve final money count would have their Boss summoned to don the protective bite suit and then be chased down and grounded by one of the Theatre Military Working Dog Support Units (TMWDSU) highly trained patrol dogs.
The event was the brain child of Warrant Officer Class 2 Michelle Lewis who is running her first marathon at the Virgin London Marathon on 17 April 2011 for Macmillan Cancer Support. She first thought of the idea when visiting the TMWDSU one Sunday morning to help walk the search dogs as a bit of relaxation.
'Appreciate all the support'
Seeing the very large, very well trained security dogs at the unit gave her the idea to not only help their training, but also raise some cash for charity whilst giving the personnel in Camp Bastion the chance to have some harmless fun at the expense of their bosses.
She said: "The 2011 London will be my first marathon. I am running for Macmillan Cancer Support after losing three close family friends over the last two months to cancer. This is a charity I hold close to my heart and I can see and really appreciate all the support and donations everyone based here in Camp Bastion are showing already."
Lieutenant Colonel Jez Hair, Commanding Officer of 16 Close Support Medical Regiment, which Michelle is part of, thought the idea was fantastic and urged his fellow Commanding Officers to volunteer for the challenge, but when the winner was announced his name was at the top of the list with more than $800 dollars raised to encourage him to make the dash. In total over $1500 has been raised.
Lt Col Hair struggled into the bite suit and Patrol Dog Rex, with handler Private Andy Daniels, was let out for some practice. The Colonel sprinted off (as fast as he could in the suit) only to be knocked to the ground seconds later by the well trained dog, this happened not once but twice.
He said after the event: “It was fun, but he’s [Rex] not placid when you’re staring into his eyes, I think I’m going to have some serious bruises in the morning.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to be on the wrong side of these guys for real”. The Theatre Military Working Dogs conduct a number of different tasks in theatre, with one of them being security for the Camp.
Michelle said: “Even though we are all on operations, an event like this gives us all the chance to focus on something really fun and let our hair down for a while. I am so pleased at how much everyone has supported this cause; my CO and all the others are down right good sports for allowing me to put them through this for a good cause.
"My aim is still to raise over £3000 before the marathon in April, so If anyone back home would like to sponsor me they still can at: www.virginmoneygiving.com/MichelleLewis."
In all there were six units competing for the ‘Bite Spot’: The Close Support Medical Regiment, Bastion Role 3 (UK) Hospital, Theatre Logistic Group, Combat Support Logistic Regiment, Equipment Support Battalion and the Bastion Quartermaster.