Australian soldiers’ market visits prove as rewarding as their Blackhawk landings during Exercise Olgeta Warrior 2009.
MARKET visits, guided tours and playing sports with communities in Papua New Guinea was just as rewarding an experience for Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel as the traditional military training they conducted during Exercise Olgeta Warrior.
The 498 ADF personnel who arrived in PNG on HMAS Kanimbla on Aug 24, 2009, and the 102 ADF personnel who arrived in PNG by air, all returned to Australia on the Kanimbla last Friday, Sept 18. For two weeks, they had been participating in the ADF’s and Papua New Guinea Defence Force’s (PNGDF) Exercise Olgeta Warrior.
Training objectives for the exercise included cultural and historical experiences for ADF personnel, and among those experiences were visits to Bomana War Cemetery, day walks on the Ower’s Corner to Imita ridge section of the Kokoda Track, market visits in Madang, guided tours of Port Moresby, sporting activities with the PNGDF and Port Moresby community, and numerous other PNG hosted functions.
Commanding Officer of the ADF 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Rupert Hoskin, said: ìPNG is a wonderful country and it was very important to see our people made so welcome and thoroughly enjoy themselves. The exercise really opened many people’s eyes to another culture and the merit of seeing the world from a different perspective.î
Head of Australian Defence Staff in PNG, Colonel Luke Foster, said: ìExperiencing foreign cultures is an important aspect of training for modern day soldiers.î
He said that the soldiers are required to be culturally aware during the diverse types of operations that the ADF is involved in.
Colonel Foster said Exercise Olgeta Warrior had strengthened the bond that exists between PNG and Australia, and increased the interoperability between the PNGDF and ADF.
Commanding Officer of the PNGDF 1st Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment (1RPIR), Lieutenant Colonel Siale Diro, said Exercise Olgeta Warrior had provided the PNGDF and ADF personnel with an exciting challenge and opportunity to learn new and relevant skills.
Among the traditional military training conducted during Exercise Olgeta Warrior was Exercise Helicon Luk, a high density altitude rotary wing exercise using Australian Army Blackhawk helicopters. This training was conducted successfully with the pilots finding the mountainous regions of PNG a challenging and spectacular environment to train in.
While in Madang, HMAS Kanimbla was also able to conduct exercise activities with the PNGDF patrol boat HMPNGS Seeadler. This included training and rehearsals of boarding operations.
During that time, Exercise Puk Puk continued with the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment soldiers and PNGDF engineers working together on engineering and training tasks in the Goldie River area in the Central province.
Exercise Wantok Warrior also took place with ADF members and PNGDF members conducting training activities in Kerea, also in the Central province. Training included infantry minor tactics, live fire ranges and jungle survival activities.
Exercise Tuari Taudia was a joint amphibious exercise that involved Australian Navy, Australian Army and the PNGSF’s 1RPIR, and was the most complex and exciting of all the activities that took place during Exercise Olgeta Warrior.