Three years after graduating from the Royal Military College at Duntroon, a surprise reunion has left Army and Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) officers feeling nostalgic and inspired.
CAPTION: Papua New Guinea Defence Force and Australian Army personnel who were classmates at the Royal Military College at Duntroon are reunited at the Headquarters 2nd Battalion, Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, in Wewak, Papua New Guinea. Story by Captain Diana Jennings.
Australian Army officers Lieutenants Elizabeth Roberts from Headquarters 3rd Brigade and Liam Frye from 4th Health Battalion were thrilled to see their Duntroon classmates again in Papua New Guinea during Exercise Olgeta Warrior.
“It was nostalgic to see my Duntroon classmates again; connecting instantaneously proves that the bonds we formed will endure,” Lieutenant Roberts said.
“I felt really proud and a sense of respect to see the leaders they have become and it solidifies how imperative it is for our forces to train together as relationship building is the core of who we are as leaders and as people.”
Conducting medical training and supporting infantry companies in Wewak, Lieutenant Frye said his relationship with the PNGDF officers made it easy for the two forces to integrate, execute training and learn from one another.
“Integration was easy as a result of the relationships we had built while at Duntroon,” Lt Frye said.
“We have so much to learn from one another so these opportunities to work with our closest pacific partner the PNGDF on Olgeta Warrior gives us the chance to enhance our knowledge, it’s been an unforgettable experience.”
Echoing his sentiment, Second Lieutenant Nikita Urum-Oresi, a PNGDF engineer battalion troop commander, said their relationship enabled the two nations to work efficiently.
“I think the main issue that we face is a language barrier, so having that relationship already established and doing reoccurring training over here, it just cements it all again,’ Second Lieutenant Urum-Oresi said.
Knowing just how important and valuable it is to build strong bonds between the two nations, Second Lieutenant Urum-Oresi was thrilled to watch her soldiers developing the same bonds and sense of mateship while training with Australian soldiers.
“PNG and Australia go way back. Maintaining that relationship today is really important and I’m happy to see the soldiers working side by side,” Second Lieutenant Urum-Oresi said .
“In the long run, I know that relationship sticks and one day they will bump into each other again in different parts of the world, just like I have.”
As the first female PNGDF graduate from the Royal Military College, Second Lieutenant Urum-Oresi described how seeing her classmates again has motivated her continue striving to be a better officer.
“It brings back a lot of good memories, remembering the hardships that we went through during our cadet days and the reasons why we’re here today,” Second Lieutenant Urum-Oresi said.
“It really lights that fire up again for me and just inspires me to be a better officer.”