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Action News takes you behind the scenes for NAS Jax military dog training

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Updated: 7/30/2013 7:08 pm

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- They are four legged friends with a fierce mission: Naval Air Station Jacksonville's award-winning military dog security unit.

And Tuesday, only Action News got the chance to take you behind the scenes to see how they train.

Nine-thousand-seven hundred military members report for duty at NAS Jax. But you may not realize there are also six smaller members whose role is just as crucial.

They train rigorously every day. They learn to follow commands. They even practice what to do in case of an intruder.

A big part of security at Naval Air Station Jacksonville is the military working dog unit. Not every base has one.

"The military working dog unit is a cornerstone pillar of navy security. They provide explosive protection, drug dog protection, patrol response," said Lieutenant Commander Eddie Davis, who overseas base security.

The obstacle course teaches them how to jump through windows, up stairs and through tunnels.

Cheli Matlock is the base's only female handler. She tells me she's blown away every day by what her dog Pato is capable of.

"The first time I ever saw K-9s do what they do it really amazed me. Made me want to do the job even more. The amaze me all the time at how smart they are," Matlock said.

These dogs' primary task is keeping NAS Jax safe. It's a 24 hour mission. Davis said the dedicated workers are highly trained and highly disciplined . But don't let their good looks fool you.

"They're a nice asset, they're very friendly at times but you certainly must remember they are a dog trained to bite if commanded to," said Davis.

One military working dog is currently deployed to Afghanistan with his handler. They'll be there for a year.

The dogs go through extensive testing before being selected to be a military working dog.

They first get sent to Lackland Airforce base in San Antonio, Texas, and then that unit selects dogs to come here.

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