Free-falling into PNG

Australian Army commandos from 2 Cdo Regt parachuted into Papua New Guinea to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the World War 2 Nadzab Landings.

CAPTIONMembers of the Australian Army’s 2nd Commando Regiment conduct a free-fall parachute jump from a RAAF C-17A Globemaster III to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Nadzab Landings in September 1943. Story by Flying Officer Aarron Dann. Photo by Senior Airman Mackenzie Cooper.

Jumping from both RAAF and United States Air Force C-17A Globemaster III aircraft, 15 members of Army’s 2nd Commando Regiment descended to Nadzab Tomodachi Airport.

The Globemasters also airdropped cargo containing donated sports equipment from the ADF Sports Council for local communities.

The event commemorated the Nadzab Landings of September 5, 1943, an Allied operation that helped establish a major airbase during the New Guinea Campaign of the Second World War.

The airbase at Nadzab would go on to become an important regional airport for PNG.

CAPTIONStaff Sergeant Jolan Besse, United States Air Force 15th Operational Support Squadron loadmaster, watches an airdrop from a C-17A Globemaster III at Nadzab in Papua New Guinea.

Corporal Kristanto Sandjaja, a C-17A Loadmaster with RAAF 36 Squadron, said the landings in 1943 showed the importance of air mobility to reach remote places.

“And 80 years on we continue to work alongside America and Papua New Guinea to deliver wherever help is needed,” Corporal Sandjaja said.

“I’m really proud to be involved with this, it’s great training for us and the airdrop includes donated sporting equipment, which will get distributed to the community.”

Following the airdrop, the RAAF C-17A crew landed at Nadzab Tomodachi Airport and hosted an aircraft tour for PNG Government members and PNG Defence Force (PNGDF) personnel.

As part of Australia and PNG’s defence cooperation, PNGDF personnel were integrated within the parachute demonstration.

This included supporting ADF personnel prepare the clearance zone at Nadzab and help load, secure and extract equipment.

CAPTIONAustralian Defence Adviser to Papua New Guinea, Colonel Travis Gordon, talks with Papua New Guinea Defence Secretary John Akipe.

Colonel Travis Gordon, the Australian Defence Adviser to Papua New Guinea, said the cooperation built on the long-standing defence partnership and enhanced the ADF’s ability to support the PNGDF on future peacekeeping and humanitarian and disaster response operations.

The airdrop mission was flown as part of Exercise Global Dexterity 23-2, a biannual training activity  to build interoperability between participants.

The exercise involved C-17A aircraft from the RAAF, USAF, and Royal Air Force in the unique and challenging geography of PNG.


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