Exercise Hydra builds bonds across borders

Soldiers from six nations last week participated in an intense competition that tested individual and team skills – and extended the brotherhood of soldiering across the Pacific.

CAPTIONA soldier from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces crawls under an obstacle during Exercise Hydra at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane. Photo by Corporal Nunu Campos.

The Chief of Army’s annual military skills competition, Exercise Hydra, has come to an end after a week of activities designed to test teamwork, physical stamina and mental rigour.

Seven teams drawn from Brisbane’s 7th Combat Brigade, who hosted this year’s event, competed against five international teams from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF); the French Army of New Caledonia; His Majesty’s Armed Forces Tonga (HMAF); United States Marine Corps, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin; and the Papua New Guinea Defence Force.

Competition exercises at the Greenbank Training Area included shooting, urban clearance drills, quick decision exercises designed to test teamwork and problem solving skills, and a ‘pilot-down’ casualty evacuation.

Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera hosted the final activity, featuring the muscle endurance and bayonet assault course.

Teams were awarded bronze, silver or gold standard at the conclusion of the exercise. Brigade Commander, 7th Combat Brigade, Brigadier Andrew Hocking, said the competition was not the most important part of the week.

“The most valuable part of this exercise was building trusting relationships and friendships through soldiering – with a heathy degree of competition,” Brigadier Hocking said.

“We realised that although we are culturally different, we have the same values.”

Corporal Nakalevu Kamnieli, a participating soldier from RFMF, said his team enjoyed experiencing life in the Australian Army.

“The Fijian team did well in the competition, and we learned a lot from our colleagues in the Australian Defence Force over the past week,” Corporal Kamnieli said.

“What we enjoyed most was making friends with the ADF members and soldiers from other countries.”

Tevita Fifita, an Officer Cadet from HMAF, appreciated meeting people from across the Asia-Pacific region.

“The exercise was physically and mentally challenging,” he said.

“The soldiers in my section had a good time interacting with military personnel from different countries, especially Australia, and everyone is looking forward to coming back next year.”

7th Combat Brigade will host the competition again in 2019, with additional teams from Thailand, Timor Leste and Singapore, who observed this year’s competition, expected to participate.

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Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

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