There’s a flurry of red shorts, pink dust and the sound of clicking camera shutters in Fiji as Australian Army physical training instructors (PTI), military police (MP) and a military camera team (MCT) conduct training with their Republic of Fiji Military Force (RFMF) counterparts on Exercise Coral Warrior 21.
CAPTION: Sergeant Cameron Scales delivers a physical training lesson for members of the Republic of Fiji Military Forces during Exercise Coral Warrior 2021 in Fiji. Story by Captain Dan Mazurek. Photo by Corporal Sagi Biderman.
Exercise Coral Warrior, which ends on November 24, is one of the bilateral Coral series of exercises, all focused on building relationships, strengthening bonds and enhancing military cooperation between Fiji and Australia.
This year, eight soldiers, broken into three mentoring training teams, have been delivering training packages to their RFMF counterparts at military facilities across Suva, Fiji.
Under the supervision of senior instructor Sergeant Cam Scales, the PTIs are running a Fitness Leader’s Course focusing on, among other topics, anatomy, safe practices, training methods and confidence.
“There are many great things to love about the Fijian students,” Sergeant Scales said.
“First up is their massive smiles, their laughter and their eagerness to learn.”
This attitude and spirit is a large part of what he hopes to share with his ADF colleagues.
“I’m enjoying the morale of the group and how infectious it is, and I’m going to take their spirit back to Australia,” Sergeant Scales said.
Across town at the Officer Training Centre, the MCT from the Australian Army Public Relations Service is conducting a basic public affairs and photography course.
The team is teaching soldiers, non-commissioned officers and Fijian Police Force officers about key messaging, strategic communications and how to use imagery and words to tell a story to achieve a non-kinetic effect.
Meanwhile, MPs from the 1st Military Police Battalion are sharing best practices and Australian drills for vehicle and personal searches, close protection and investigation techniques with RFMF MPs at Queen Elizabeth Barracks.
After completing a fingerprint dusting exercise, senior instructor Sergeant Grant Cresswell is covered in fine pink dust but is nonetheless impressed by the enthusiasm and dedication of his Fijian Military Police counterparts.
“The Fijians are excellent students. They just can’t get enough of the training we’re giving them; they just want more, which is fantastic,” Sergeant Cresswell said.
Exercise Coral Warrior is a component of the 2019 Vuvale Partnership, formalised between Fiji and Australia in 2019, and is designed to share knowledge between partners.
Contingent commander Lieutenant Taylor Nalder said the Australian team had already learnt a lot from the RFMF.
This included the spirit of Vuvale, which centres around family and hospitality – something the Australian contingent has enjoyed immensely since arriving in country in early October.
“It felt like I was just being welcomed into a big family,” Lieutenant Nalder said.
“They took care of us immediately.
“They were very excited to meet us, and everyone is excited to see us wherever we go. It feels like being at home.”