b. ? Croatia.
DATE OF DM ACTION: 2013 Afghanistan.
Originally bred in Croatia, Hertz joined the Royal Air Force Police as a one-year-old puppy after showing exceptional skills in drug detection. His natural talent saw that he was selected as the first-ever Military Working Dog to be trained to detect the presence of Personal Electronic Devices (PEDs).
Having never trained a dog to find such items within the British military before, advice and effective training methods were sought from the Prison Service, where sniffer dogs are used frequently to detect electronic contraband. After weeks of intense specialist training, Hertz quickly showed signs of exceptional skill and it wasn’t long before Hertz and his handler, Warrant Officer Jonathan Tanner, were deployed to Afghanistan.
The duo worked together daily within numerous military and local civilian compounds within Camp Bastion and on his very first search, Hertz discovered a find that comprised of both drugs and electronic devices, and the latter was successful in supporting intelligence purposes. In doing so Hertz secured and protected Camp Bastion against the threat of both an intruder and insider attacks. These threats had previously claimed the lives of UK and US servicemen and women.
News of Hertz’ success spread fast, and he was deployed to locations throughout Helmand and Kabul, where his role was the same: to ensure that areas were free of PED’s and drugs to secure the safety of military personnel and local people.
At the end of Warrant Officer Tanner’s deployment, Hertz was assigned to work with Corporal Simon Dack and despite the change of handler, Hertz continued to work with pinpoint accuracy.
Many of the items he found led directly to the gathering of intelligence about potential threats and attacks on British and Allied personnel. Hertz’s impact was without parallel, his ability to remove potentially dangerous items from use undoubtedly led to the lives of British and Coalition servicemen and women being saved.
During the 13 months of Hertz’s tour, there was not a single rocket attack on Camp Bastion. His work was vital to ensure the safety of all the personnel working there, both locals and military. It is difficult to truly estimate how many lives he saved through his actions.
Hertz’s unique set of skills had never been seen before in military theatre. His specialist training prevented attacks and uncovered intelligence and in the ever-changing environment of military conflict, Hertz was at the cutting edge of defending troops from the ever-evolving advances in digital intelligence. His work undoubtedly saved many lives, making him a worthy recipient of the PDSA Dickin Medal.
For his life-saving devotion to duty, protecting British and Allied troops while serving in Afghanistan, in 2013.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: UNKNOWN.