ANZAC and East Timor defence forces have come together for a successful joint military exercise in East Timor.
Exercise Tubaraun involved elements of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF), the East Timor Defence Force (F-FDTL) and the Royal Australian Navy (RAN).
The amphibious RAN landing vessel, HMAS Betano, sailed from Darwin for the exercise and hosted a series of rehearsals and real-time drills of soldiers and military vehicles embarking and disembarking from beaches in Dili and Manatuto.
Commander of the ISF, Colonel Luke Foster, said Exercise Tubaraun was a classic example of the ISF and F-FDTL working together to help build a more secure and stable East Timor.
“The way the forces came together in the spirit of professionalism and mutual-respect was heartening and augurs well for the country’s future,” Colonel Foster said.
“Enhancement of the ongoing relationship between our respective armed forces is important and reflects the good work being undertaken by the Australian Defence Force’s Defence Cooperation Program (DCP).” The exercise provided the opportunity for troops of the F-FDTL to live and train with ISF soldiers and exchange skills and experiences.
New Zealand and Australian soldiers of the ISF’s ANZAC Company combined with the F-FDTL for the exercise which involved a beach landing from an amphibious RAN vessel and a raid on a land-based facility to detain and remove insurgents.
New Zealand Platoon Commander for the exercise, Lieutenant Ross Bidlake, said the training was a considerable success.
“Our East Timorese colleagues lived with us, ate with us and trained with us. It was great to see them looking at how we do things and we also learned a thing or two about how they go about it,” Lieutenant Bidlake said.
“The aim was to demonstrate that we can work very effectively together – that we’re both professional forces and that we have the ability to cooperate in a sophisticated manner.”
The DCP is an Australian initiative to assist the development of the F-FDTL through military training, mentoring, advice and infrastructure support.
The New Zealand Defence Force also assists the development of the East Timor security forces through its Mutual Assistance Program.