A combat team made up of several 7th Brigade units deployed to Wellcamp Airport, Toowoomba, Swartz Barracks, Oakey and RAAF Base Amberley as part of Exercise Ram Stallion in October.
CAPTION: An Australian Army Bushmaster is loaded onto a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III during Exercise Ram Stallion at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland. Story by Captain Cody Tsaousis. Photo by Corporal Nicole Dorrett.
Ram Stallion was the first phase of Exercise Ram Horn, which was part of 7th Brigade’s Exercise Diamond Strike.
The combat team, centred on the 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (8/9RAR), conducted a tactical air landing operation followed by a simulated evacuation of non-combatants, in cooperation with the RAAF’s 36 Squadron.
The exercise enhanced the Army’s capability to work with the RAAF to transport people and vehicles on a large scale, with 18 Bushmaster protected mobility vehicles (PMVs) and 150 soldiers in fighting order coming off six C-17A Globemaster III aircraft across 48 hours.
The C-17As left RAAF Base Amberley and landed at Wellcamp Airport, Toowoomba, where a motorised combat team and battlegroup headquarters set up an evacuee handling centre.
8/9RAR operations officer Major Ryan Bell said the exercise provided soldiers with an opportunity to adapt to an unfamiliar environment.
“Exercise Ram Stallion has been a fantastic opportunity to expand the cooperation between 36 Squadron and 8/9RAR in planning and executing joint operations,” Major Bell said.
“The experiences gained have been invaluable and have demonstrated the joint force’s preparedness for any mission, anytime, anywhere.”
7th Brigade Commander Brigadier Mick Say, who attended part of the exercise, said it was great to see interoperability with the RAAF, and for soldiers to test themselves in new locations.
“It’s been promising to see elements of 8/9RAR effectively insert into the environment via C-17s,” he said.
“Diversity in our training is extremely important because, while foundation warfighting may draw us into more field environments, we also need to work out how to operate in urban environments.
“Wellcamp provides a great facility for us to use as a staging base to then launch subsequent operations.”
At Swartz Barracks, Oakey, a simulated overseas evacuation point for Australians and approved foreign nationals was established, and soldiers practised how to handle a variety of situations.
Lance Corporal Xavier Sweeney Cootes, of 8/9RAR Charlie Company, said it was something unfamiliar, which was exciting and challenging for the unit.
“We flew out of Amberley and it was a pretty good experience to work with the RAAF, and then to roll off in PMVs,” he said.
“Then we set up a simulated evacuation centre and practised checking people through and dealing with different scenarios, which was a really different experience for everyone.”