Future Royal Australian Engineers troop commanders are building bridges of a different kind during their eight-and-a-half month regimental basic officer course at Holsworthy’s School of Military Engineering.
CAPTION: Lieutenant James Bonney attaches simulated explosives to a bridge during the final field phase of the Engineer Regimental Officer Basic Course. Photo by Sergeant Ray Vance. Story by Major Chris Rickey.
More than 40 lieutenants are not only learning how to be Army’s mobility and survivability experts, they’re working with officers from Australia’s regional partners to build personal and professional networks.
Course leader Captain Jillie-May Reading said students covered a broad range of engineering capabilities working with contemporaries from Malaysia, Fiji, PNG, NZ and Tonga during one of the longest courses run by the Combined Arms Training Centre.
“Skills include vertical and horizontal construction through to search and explosive-hazard reduction techniques,” Captain Reading said.
“The training we do at the school is of the highest standard with all our subject-matter experts to cover off on each of those topics.
“Lieutenant’s rotate through the various modules and cover off on skills from the soldier level all the way through to the management and coordination of tasks as a troop commander.”
New Zealand Army’s 2nd Lieutenant Blair Jones said the skills were easily transferrable.
“Our doctrine is similar to what we are doing in Australia,” he said.
“I might be joining a support troop or combat engineers in New Zealand, and I’ll be using the skills I’ve used here to fulfil my role.”
Exercise Kokoda was the courses’ culminating activity with trainees rotating through the command of a mechanised engineer troop against a developing enemy picture.