SIGONELLA, Sicily — Members of the Naval Air Station (NAS) Sigonella Security department along with local Sicilian law-enforcement and military K-9 units came together to share techniques and training May 28.
A large number of representatives from Sicilian military and law-enforcement agencies including the Carabinieri, Guardia di Finanza (GDF), Italian Air Force (ITAF) and Polizia di Stato were present for the training.
The exercise marked the first time Sigonella sailors have been able to work with K-9 units from all of the separate groups at one time, said Master-at-Arms Chief Gary Groesbeck, Leading Chief Petty Officer of the NAS Sigonella Military Working Dog Kennel.
"The big thing about this one was that we had those other two entities, the GDF and the Polizia, because ITAF is next door," Groesbeck said. "They're like your neighbors at the barbeque, you just call them over. So, for them to come over and get everyone here was a great learning experience for us all."
The exercise started off early in the morning with each group running through several scenarios and then comparing notes and ideas with the other units.
"We started out with two detection problems. One was explosive and then the other one was narcotic. Each agency that came out here had a different technique for how they search for explosives and then we showed them our techniques. It's more like a show-and-tell to see what everyone is apt to do."
Groesbeck believes this training may be of great use sometime in the future.
"You never know, there could be a situation where everybody gets notified for, heaven forbid, a domestic or terrorist threat and we need to use all of these entities," said Groesbeck. "At least now we understand how we can work well with each other."
The afternoon segment of the training turned away from search and seizure to how K-9s are used when dealing with human subjects in the field.
"This afternoon we ended with aggression training, which are just straight patrol techniques," Groesbeck said.
Paolo Camerlingo, Carabinieri K-9 Unit commanding officer, felt that the training was great opportunity for his unit as a whole.
"It's extremely important because you leave the typical scenarios to train in different scenarios with strangers," Camerlingo said. "Therefore it stimulates you to do more and learn more from others."
Groesbeck believes that, above all, the exercise was a great opportunity to build lasting relationships between sailors and Sicilians.