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FLTLT David Cusworth
MILITARY working dog Choppa
wears a different kind of dog tag
since he moved into retirement with
his handler, LAC Brett McCormack.
Choppa, a four-year-old
Belgian shepherd has joined LAC
McCormack, wife Andrea and their
children Jake and Allarnah in the
Perth suburb of Ellenbrook after a
short career at RAAF Base Pearce.
"He was one of our Security
Police working dogs," LAC
Choppa never had to bite anyone
in his work, LAC McCormack said,
and now he can't.
"He's retiring because of
medical reasons," he said.
"He's had a fractured shoulder
and he tends to get cramps, plus
he's had his canine teeth removed
due to a training accident," he said.
"I can still take him around at
night and he'll still detect people,
but he's probably not good at the
LAC McCormack was in the
Army when he fostered Choppa
under a military breeding program
which places dogs with families
from three to 18 months of age,
before they go into training.
The pair were reunited after
LAC McCormack returned from
Afghanistan and transferred to the
Air Force in 2011.
"I saw the dogs work a lot
overseas on deployment and
thought, 'that's amazing'," LAC
"I really wanted to do that."
Choppa is one of the first
military dogs to be re-homed.
"I've been going through four-
and-a-half-months of training on a
selection board with my dog," LAC
"They see how he reacts around
my dog -- Taj, a seven-year-old
German shepherd, and my kids -- at
first around the house and parks.
"Eventually we took him to a
shopping centre, then to Bunnings
on a Saturday, which was packed --
and all he cared about was getting
"Finally we had to do an
RSPCA test. Our dogs are tested
exactly how any dog off the street
LAC McCormack's boss,
FLGOFF John Higgins, said
modern working dogs were trained
to develop their "prey drive", rather
than simply to be aggressive.
"A lot of the new dogs can
switch off," FLGOFF Higgins said.
"They can switch between work
mode and play mode quite easily,"
And now Choppa wears
a different kind of dog tag: after
leaving the Air Force, he has his
first local authority licence discs
inscribed with his new civilian
IT'S an active year for RAAF Base
Amberley's CPL Lyn Farrier and her
nine-year-old son Kyle, who are partici-
pating in as many adventure and mara-
thon running challenges as possible to
raise money for cancer research.
Lyn's father, Peter Farrier, died of
lung cancer in December last year in
England and although CPL Farrier tried,
she wasn't able to get back in time to
say her final goodbye. It was at this time
her son Kyle decided he wanted to raise
money to "get rid of cancer" and make
his granddad proud.
They decided they would raise $2000
to help the Australian Cancer Research
Foundation find cures by funding world-
class cancer research in Australia.
AUSTRALIANS wanting to
attend Anzac Day commem-
orations at Gallipoli in 2015
can access information on
ballot arrangements ahead
of registrations opening in
site at Gallipoli can accom-
modate 10,500 people. In
2015 that will include 8000
Australians, 2000 New
Zealanders and up to 500
official representatives of all
countries that served in the
Some of the places avail-
able will be reserved for
direct descendants of veter-
ans of the Gallipoli campaign
and the veteran community.
For more information on
ballot arrangements, visit
A BRILLIANT CAREER:
LAC Brett McCormack
recently adopted retired
military working dog,
Choppa; inset, LAC
McCormack and FLGOFF
John Higgins with Choppa
at the RAAF Base Pearce
Police Dogs Memorial.
Photos: FLTLT Dave Cusworth
Lyn and Kyle on a
special mission to
'get rid of cancer'
In an epic challenge to raise funds,
CPL Farrier and Kyle have already organ-
ised to participate in eight sporting chal-
lenges this year.
"If it's not a challenge, it's not worth
doing," CPL Farrier said. "My fitness is
They have already completed the
Adventure Trail, a challenge made up of
a 5km canoe, 10km run and 15km bike
ride, which took them both five-and-a-
half painful hours to complete.
"Kyle was the youngest participant at
nine years old; the next oldest participant
was in their 20s," CPL Farrier said.
"It's probably one of the most difficult
challenges in Queensland."
They also competed in the Cancer
Council's 24-hour Relay For Life, where
Kyle completed an amazing 92 laps,
equivalent to almost 37km.
Kyle is running 20km every week
and recently completed the Weetbix
Triathalon and finished first in his group,
although he said it wasn't hard after all
the running he had been doing.
"I'm really looking forward to the
City2South event because it's the long-
est event I'm allowed to run for my age,"
"My friends say it's so awesome,
because I don't think anyone in my grade
can run 14km."
CPL Farrier said everyone at
Amberley "from the CO down" had been
"The physical training instructors
have been helping with training," she
In fundraising for the Australian
Cancer Research Foundation, CPL
Farrier and Kyle are ensuring every dol-
lar raised goes towards funding break-
through research into all types of cancer.
Lyn and Kyle's Everyday Hero Page can be
accessed at: https://give.everydayhero.com/au/
INSPIRATIONAL: CPL Lyn Farrier
and son Kyle after a Relay for Life
chariot race in which they completed
Photo courtesy CPL Farrier
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