Republic of Fiji Military Forces soldiers preparing for Operation Tonga Assist 2022 had the chance to join 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, in Queensland for a week of training before deploying.
CAPTION: Fijian soldiers watch Australian counterparts from 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, conduct an urban operations demonstration at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane. Story by Captain Taylor Lynch. Photo by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.
The training at Gallipoli Barracks in Enoggera, Brisbane, involved force preparation and capability displays, sharing knowledge, playing sport and building on existing ties.
Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) soldier Corporal Meli Tuni said one of the highlights for the 18 RFMF soldiers was the urban warfare demonstration and training.
“The urban operations training was interesting and an eye opener for us,” Corporal Tuni said.
“For our new soldiers, it was the first time seeing these kinds of drills – how to enter a house and conduct building clearances – because our focus is on conventional jungle warfare training.”
The RFMF and 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (8/9 RAR), have an ongoing relationship, built on combined training and mutual exchanges of knowledge over several years.
Corporal Tuni said he sees these kind of training exchanges as being mutually beneficial for the Australian Defence Force and the RFMF.
“The relationship between the RFMF and the ADF is very good, because we share our knowledge and we have a good mutual understanding,” Corporal Tuni said.
“Over the next few years we’ll continue to get to know each other very well.”
The RFMF contingent is looking forward to deploying to Tonga as part of Operation Tonga Assist 2022.
“Next week we’ll go to Sydney, along with troops from Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu, before heading to Tonga to assist with humanitarian aid and disaster relief,” Corporal Tuni said.
“In Tonga we’ll mainly be giving out supplies and helping with their facilities, like the rebuilding of bus stops, schools, and cleaning up the villages.
“We’ll be working alongside the ADF and other nations.”
The RFMF and ADF are deploying on Operation Tonga Assist 2022 following a Tongan Government request for support following the eruption of Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai underwater volcano.