Hailing from the small town of Kukerin in rural Western Australia, Army Medic Private Kirsty Joyce was a long way from home operating in the jungle of Brunei on Exercise Mallee Bull.
CAPTION: Private Kirsty Joyce, from Rifle Company Butterworth Rotation 137, swaps patches with a Royal Brunei Land Force Medic from the 3rd Battalion. Story by Captain Diana Jennings. Photo by Bombardier Guy Sadler.
As part of Rifle Company Butterworth Rotation 137, Private Joyce, of the 2nd Health Battalion, along with her platoon from the 3rd Brigade, travelled from Malaysia to Brunei to conduct the exercise hosted by the Royal Brunei Land Forces (RBLF).
Private Joyce said she enjoyed gaining knowledge working alongside medics from another military and supporting their soldiers on her first international exercise.
“It was great to be able to help their soldiers in the field and to work alongside the Brunei medics, sharing our medical knowledge and experiences,” Private Joyce said.
Only 24 hours after landing in Brunei, the Australian soldiers integrated with a platoon from the RBLF 3rd Battalion and deployed into the jungle as a combined force.
Gaining survival skills and learning how to best navigate the challenging jungle terrain was a steep learning curve for the Australian soldiers, but one they grew to master alongside the RBLF soldiers.
“I won’t forget about the field jungle phase. Being embedded into a platoon with Australian and Bruneian soldiers was a lot of fun,” Private Joyce said.
“It was interesting to work with them in an environment they’re used to; seeing how the soldiers who had more jungle experience made shelters and could find food to survive over long periods of time.”
Coping with severe heat and humidity, harsh terrain and an array of venomous local fauna, the medics had their work cut out but, regardless of the challenges, Private Joyce said it was a positive experience she would remember.
“It was a super valuable and unique exercise,” she said.
“To be able to build friendships and relations with land forces from other nations was great, and it opened my eyes to different levels of medical care on an international scale.”
Conducting patrols, ambushes and a final objective assault, the soldiers forged strong relationships through shared hardship, and proudly stood on parade together at the closing ceremony.
“The Bruneian soldiers and medics were so easy to work with, were very welcoming and we learnt a lot from each other,” Private Joyce said.
“After completing the jungle phase it was really nice for me to stand side-by-side with the platoon during the closing ceremony.”
CAPTION: Private Kirsty Joyce and Royal Brunei Land Force Medics from the 3rd Battalion during Exercise Mallee Bull. Photo by Bombardier Guy Sadler.