Rehearsing urban clearance drills like a well-oiled machine, soldiers from the 1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (1 RAR) and His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) Tonga have been perfecting their skills and company cohesion in the lead-up to Exercise Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac).
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from 1 RAR train with Royal Tongan Marines on urban clearance drills at Lavarack Barracks. Story by Captain Diana Jennings. Photo by Sergeant Andrew Sleeman.
In preparation for their participation in the multinational exercise, where the HMAF Tonga platoon will work closely with 1 RAR’s Charlie Company, the soldiers have been using urban training facilities and airsoft weapons at Lavarack Barracks, in north Queensland.
With a majority of soldiers preparing for their first overseas exercise, HMAF Tonga Platoon Commander Lieutenant Filise Siale said the platoon was enjoying the opportunity to learn about Australian tactics and military culture.
“We don’t get to do urban training much, so it was challenging at first, especially with the language barriers, but the team are really enjoying it. They’re developing confidence and are keen to learn,” Lieutenant Siale said.
“The team have gained a deeper understanding of Australian culture, language and society, which really helps to create trust between our countries and builds a resilient training relationship.”
1 RAR Platoon Sergeant Siaosi Paseka said the chance to integrate the soldiers and work together before participating in Rimpac was an advantage for the company.
“It’s the small things that make a big difference, so we’ve been able to iron out the discrepancies in training and experience to make the drills easier and more effective,” Sergeant Paseka said.
He said it was a good challenge for his soldiers to test their leadership and teaching abilities before delivering the training package to other nations on Rimpac.
“This was an opportunity for our section commanders to practise their lessons and I’m sure that a lot of those lessons will now be amended to better suit various audiences,” Sergeant Paseka said.
“They’ve learnt how to overcome language barriers by shortening descriptions, making the training more hands-on and visual, as well as allocating individuals one-on-one time.”
The company will be joined by Sri Lankan Defence personnel for the final week of preparation before departing for Rimpac.