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
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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
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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
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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
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United States Marine 1st Lieutenant Brian Collins rehearses his orders to Australian soldiers and US Marines.
Source: Australian Department of Defence
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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
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“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