The strong relationships between the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF) and Australian Army have been evident during Exercise Puk Puk 2022 in PNG.
CAPTION: Papua New Guinea Defence Force Lieutenant Desmond Reuben on site during Exercise Puk Puk at Goldie River Training Depot in Papua New Guinea. Story by Major Jesse Robilliard. Photo by Sergeant Nunu Campos.
About 100 engineers from the PNGDF, Australian Army and British Army are working together to develop trade skills while improving existing infrastructure at the Goldie River Training Depot near Port Moresby.
Lieutenant Desmond Reuben, of the PNGDF, said through previous training courses, he was already familiar with Australian Army engineers taking part in the exercise.
“I joined the PNGDF in 2014. I was recruited in Lae in PNG. I was commissioned in 2015 and I got posted to engineers,” Lieutenant Reuben said.
“Last year in 2021, I went to the Regimental Officers Basic Course (ROBC) with Lieutenant Jacob Mclean from the Australian Army.
“I got posted back after ROBC as the second in command of Horizontal Construction, which is a support company that deals with plant and road equipment.”
Exercise Puk Puk has been an enduring commitment to PNG since the early 2000s.
This is Lieutenant Reuben’s second time supporting the exercise.
“We did an in-country engineers ROBC with the current ADF Officer Commanding Exercise Puk Puk, Major Scott Atkinson,” he said.
“He was one of my instructors back in 2017.”
The main scope of works for Exercise Puk Puk is the construction of a classroom at Field Engineer Wing, creation of an inert demolition demonstration range and the refurbishment of a guard house.
However, the emphasis of the exercise has been sharing knowledge and creating working relationships.
“I brought my PNG contingent; my troops are embedded into the different construction troops with ADF and UK engineers,” Lieutenant Reuben said.
“I am learning a lot from the ADF and Royal Engineer counterparts; new ideas and planning and how to go about planning and delivering and executing the task of the construction.
“I am planning a task to lead as a troop commander for the second half of Exercise Puk Puk.”