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Army February 3, 2011
Sarbi home safe after
By Sgt Andrew Hetherington
SPECIAL Forces explosive
detection dog Sarbi was released
from her 30-day quarantine stay
at Eastern Creek in Sydney on
Sarbi's handler, Sgt D from
the Incident Response Regiment,
explained how they were separat-
ed during their 2008 deployment
to Afghanistan and what her future
would be with the Army.
They were on patrol with Special
Operations Task Group soldiers on
the afternoon of September 2, 2008,
when Taliban insurgents struck.
"Early on in the contact a rocket-
propelled grenade exploded within
5m of myself and Sarbi and part
of the shrapnel broke the clip that
had her lead attached to my body
armour," Sgt D said.
"Sarbi was running free while the
contact continued and a short while
after I was hit by a couple more
RPGs and I was wounded."
Sgt D took cover in a hole on the
side of the road. Sarbi came towards
him within about 5m but a .50 cal-
ibre machine gun fired over their
heads and she ducked away.
"At this time the last coalition
Humvee was coming past me so I
had to jump onto it and wasn't able
to recover her," Sgt D said.
"Myself and eight others were
wounded and had to get to medi-
cal treatment. Even though I was
concerned for them I was worrying
about Sarbi too."
After spending six days in Tarin
Kot hospital with shrapnel injuries to
his face, left knee, legs, torso and a
bulging disc in his neck, Sgt D went
back out to the scene of the ambush
to find the explosive detection dog.
"I spent 10 days with US sol-
diers trying to find her. US military
intelligence staff made recordings
and played them on local radio sta-
tions to let people know Sarbi was
missing and how they could give her
back," Sgt D said.
"We had reports saying she was
still in the area and some said she
"It weighed heavily on me that
I'd left her there, but I remained
hopeful up to the day she was
He was on a promotion course
in Sydney when he heard Sarbi had
been found, 14 months after she
"I was ecstatic and I went around
and told a few people with a massive
smile on my face," he said.
Sarbi's future employment with
the Army now rests on a practical
"I will put her through a two-
week assessment looking at her fit-
ness and see if she can find all the
target [explosive] odours and work
to the search patterns," Sgt D said.
Welcome home: Sarbi's handler, Sgt D from the Incident Response Regiment
at Holsworthy Barracks, shakes her paw after she is released from a 30-day
quarantine stay at Eastern Creek in Sydney.
Photos by Sgt Andrew Hetherington
Attention please: Sarbi looks on as her handler, Sgt D, speaks with
reporters at Holsworthy Barracks.
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