Blistering heat, dense jungle, feet that never dry, and more mosquitos than you could poke a stick at.
CAPTION: Lieutenant David Adams, centre, from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, briefs Major David Hodge, left, at the Combat Training Centre – Jungle Training Wing, Tully, Queensland. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch. Photo by Corporal Brodie Cross.
These are the conditions personnel from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, spent a week training in last month at the Jungle Training Wing at Tully in Far North Queensland.
Delta Company members refined their infantry skills in the harsh tropical conditions in preparation for their upcoming deployment to Malaysia as Rifle Company Butterworth 133 where they will train with Australia’s regional partners.
Platoon Commander Lieutenant David Adams said the jungle was a complex environment that trained the platoon to operate more effectively.
“There’s quite a few challenges that don’t often present themselves,” Lieutenant Adams said.
“We’ve been refining dismounted minor tactics, platoon and section patrolling, ambushing, attacks, search techniques, site exploitation and intelligence recovery, reconnaissance, camp searches, ambushes.
“It’s a hard environment and, for a young group of soldiers, they’ve definitely bonded.
“They’re working really well together as a team.”
Private Tom Phillipson said his section had improved over the short exercise, learning each other’s traits through the challenges they had to overcome.
“The jungle is so thick and it’s such a close environment, your group becomes closer,” Private Phillipson said.
“All your basic skills become very important and they’re ingrained in you.
“We get to learn everyone’s traits and how they operate individually, and we have matured as a section.”
Private Phillipson described what it was like to have his senses honed, and adapting to the harsh demands of operating in the jungle.
“I like always having a job to do out here; you’re looking for everything and your mind is always occupied, being able to spot an ambush before they ambush us,” he said.
“We’ve ironed out our creases, so when we get to Malaysia, it’ll be a lot smoother, and a lot easier.”
Private Phillipson said it wasn’t all plain sailing, however, and that Tully had plenty of uncomfortable obstacles for his section to adapt to.
“I trekked Kokoda a few years ago so there are some similarities, but there’s not quite as many mozzies as we have here in Tully, especially when you’re low to the ground,” he said.
“The mozzies just flock straight to you.”