NZ Army hosts foreign soldiers on biggest exercise this year

New Zealand Army is putting its soldiers through their paces, alongside a handful of international militaries, in its largest exercise at home this year.

CAPTIONRoyal New Zealand Infantty Regiment 2/1st Battalion soldiers engage ‘enemy’ in a platoon quick attack at Waiouru Military Training Area. NZDF photo.

Multiple units from the New Zealand Army and personnel from the United States Army, US Marines and Australian and British armies have converged on the military training area in Waiouru for Exercise Sari Bair, which focuses live field firing in an operational environment.

Exercise Commander Lieutenant Colonel Aidan Shattock said the training was essential.

“It’s imperative to safeguard our troops during training and operations, so we need to test them in live field firing with the various capabilities we have,” Lieutenant Colonel Shattock said.

“The terrain and weather at the Waiouru Military Training Facility added to the challenge of completing the tasks set.

“We need to be ready for operations in all environments, such as urban, open and closed country and mountain.”

Working with international militaries was also a crucial aspect of mimicking a life-like operational scenario, he said.

“It’s incredibly useful to access their knowledge and experience and working in these situations helps when we work with them on operations around the world.

“Having that familiarity with each other and the way we work is vital for successful operations.”

Lieutenant Colonel Shattock said the Army had been working towards exercise Sari Bair throughout the year in various exercises.

“All the units coming together for Exercise Sari Bair means all our troops, including infantry, engineers, logistics, armour and medics etcetera, work in cohesion to achieve success on operations.”

Exercise Sari Bair will continue until 2 October.

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Brian Hartigan

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