Brave dog handler Kaye 'humbled' by her MBE
An Army explosives sniffer dog handler who saved "countless'' lives by uncovering deadly roadside bombs in Afghanistan has been awarded an MBE.
Sergeant Kaye Wilson, 35, who is based at the Defence Animal Centre (DAC), in Melton, was honoured for her "unwavering bravery'' in searching for hidden improvised explosive devices (IEDs) on the frontline in Helmand Province.
She and her dog, Obama, a two-and-a-half-year-old Belgian Shepherd Malinois, were deployed to the most dangerous areas as part of a high-risk IED search team.
The Royal Army Veterinary Corps soldier, then serving with 104 Military Working Dog Squadron, based at St George's Barracks, in North Luffenham, Rutland, said it was "amazing'' to receive the MBE.
Cheap Van Insurance(Commercial & Private Use) - Contact Insure365...View details
Cheap Van Insurance(Commercial & Private Use) - Contact Insure365 01782 898188. Free Legal Protection Included Valued at £25.00
Terms: 1 Voucher Per Customer
Contact: 01782 898188
Valid until: Friday, June 21 2013
She joked she would share it with Obama, adding: "It's a team effort. I feel very humbled."
Her MBE citation read: "Corporal Wilson pushed herself and her dog to the limits of endurance, supporting the infantry and saving countless lives in the process.
"Always keeping a cool head and demonstrating unwavering bravery, Wilson operated at the very top of her game and maintained this unparalleled performance throughout the tour.
"Courageous but understated, she led from the front with a technical proficiency and selfless dedication."
The dog handler was based in Nad-e-Ali and Gereshk, in Helmand, on her third tour of Afghanistan from September last year until March, which she admitted got "tasty" at times.
She said: "It was probably the most intense because I was working with the high-threat teams.
"However, working with the high-threat teams, I was probably more secure because they have a good knowledge of what they're doing. You trust your team around you."
Sgt Wilson stressed that Obama, who is still in Afghanistan but may be coming home soon, was not treated as a pet.
"It's not a relationship where it's cuddled. It's maintained as a working dog,'' she said.
Sgt Wilson, who is now an instructor at the DAC, and her husband, Matthew, 36, a driver in the Army's Royal Logistic Corps, have three pet Labradors at home who are all former military working dogs. She has not ruled out adopting Obama too after he retires.
Sgt Wilson, who was a corporal when she was nominated for the honour, also paid tribute to her North Luffenham comrade, Lance Corporal Liam Tasker, 26, who was awarded a posthumous Mention in Despatches after being shot dead, in Helmand, in March.
L/Cpl Tasker and his dog Theo, who died from a seizure hours after his master, found a record 14 bombs and weapons caches in five months.
Sgt Wilson said: "We are all close, what happened affected everyone.''
The honours will be presented at a later date.