With matted hair and sweat-drenched uniforms, some of 1RAR’s newest soldiers were put through their paces during Exercise Green Blaze in Townsville last month.
CAPTION: Soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment disembark a CH-47 Chinook during Exercise Green Blaze at Townsville Field Training Area. Story by Corporal Jacob Joseph . Photo by Trooper Dana Millington.
Charlie Company had 46 new diggers fresh from the School of Infantry taking part in combat shooting, urban tactics and air-mobile operations.
Private Connor Barbe joined the battalion in September and was thrilled to continue training during a typically quiet part of the year.
“We were expecting it to be low tempo when we marched in, but it was really good to get those experiences,” Private Barbe said.
“I definitely walked away feeling better for it.”
Section commander Corporal Beau Johnston said most of his diggers had been at the battalion a little over a month and it was a chance to bring everyone up to speed before the new year.
He said the School of Infantry graduates had a much higher standard of urban training now than when he left in 2016.
“The guys coming now are better than how we used to be, but the battalion drills have changed to be more in line with what we’d do in a live-fire scenario, like safety with positioning and catchwords,” Corporal Johnston said.
“They all worked incredibly well, especially considering their age and the time in the battalion; the standard that we achieved was excellent.”
For many it was the first time in a helicopter and a chance to learn how to navigate confined spaces.
“I didn’t really know what to expect but I was excited for the experience,” Private Barbe said.
“I learned at night you have to use touch points instead of looking at what you’re doing.”
After the lessons, they put it all into practice, inserting by Chinook to their objective.
When the helicopters left and dust settled, there was silence.
Soldiers aimed their weapons at doorways and windows and moved into position, ready to clear buildings and towns of the “enemy”.
CAPTION: Soldiers from 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment conduct a clearance of Line Creek Junction on Exercise Green Blaze. Photo by Trooper Dana Millington.
Although familiar with the layout of Line Creek Junction, soldiers advanced through the unknown.
Unused accommodation and classroom buildings at James Cook University added to the realism.
A night-time raid on James Cook University gave the new soldiers an experience to remember.
“It felt more like a real-life scenario, like if we were to go to a different country, that’s what we’d be doing,” Private Barbe said.