East Timor — Multi-national rumble in the jungle

The gift of sight is one of the most impor­tant sens­es we have, and sol­diers from the East Tim­or Defence Force (F-FDTL) have recent­ly shown how effec­tive it can be.

MAREX 10 MAREX 10 MAREX 10
Cap­tain Paul Sander­son with the Defence Co-oper­a­tion Pro­gram (DCP) checks the nav­i­ga­tion on a map with an East Tim­or Defence Force (F-FDTL) sec­tion from the Ready Com­pa­ny Group.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge
New Zealand sol­dier Pri­vate David Bur­rell pass­es on orders to his sec­tion as they pre­pare to move and assault on the jun­gle train­ing area.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge
First Sergeant Mateus DeJe­sus DaCun­ha leads his sec­tion of East Tim­or Defence Force (F-FDTL) sol­diers as they assault the jun­gle train­ing lane.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

Dur­ing MAREX 10, also known as Exer­cise Croc­o­dile in East Tim­or, sol­diers from B Coy 8/9RAR, New Zealand, East Tim­or and US Marines from the 15th Marine Expe­di­tionary Unit (15MEU), under­took five days of jun­gle train­ing just out­side of Vemasse.

Lt Brent Daire from the direct­ing staff said the F-FDTL sol­diers gave an exam­ple of just how good their obser­va­tion­al skills were in jun­gle ter­rain.

“This is where they excel,” he said.

“They pick things up and any­thing that is not meant to be there they pick up like light­ning. They are very quick at it.”

He said if any­thing was unnat­ur­al in a jun­gle set­ting they would see it imme­di­ate­ly.

MAREX 10 MAREX 10 MAREX 10
Sergeant Ben Daly informs the East Tim­or Defence Force (F-FDTL) Sec­tion of what to expect when mov­ing through the jun­gle train­ing lane as a sec­tion.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge
Unit­ed States Marine 1st Lieu­tenant Bri­an Collins rehears­es his orders to Aus­tralian sol­diers and US Marines.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge
Pic­tured are mem­bers from 6 pla­toon, B Com­pa­ny, 8/9RAR dur­ing jun­gle train­ing near Vemasse, East Tim­or. (Left to right) Pri­vate Michael Man­uoe­fet­la and Pri­vate Craig Rob­son.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

“This is their nat­ur­al envi­ron­ment and they have been work­ing in it a long time,” he said.

“They would make great scouts.”

OC B Coy 8/9RAR, Maj Dave Guthrie, said one of the biggest chal­lenges in jun­gle war­fare was visu­al­is­ing a tar­get. That is a skill the F-FDTL sol­diers could pass on to oth­ers who worked with them.

B Coy found many of its pre­vi­ous­ly held assump­tions chal­lenged in the tan­gled under­growth at Vemasse.

“The F-FDTL brought the ‘ground truth’ to how it has been done in the past,” Maj Guthrie said.

“They have giv­en us a lit­tle bit of enjoy­ment and oppor­tu­ni­ty to see how it can be done.”

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia