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Army November 12, 2009
A COMBINATION of three cours-
es has enabled soldiers from the
three Regional Force Surveillance
Units (RFSUs) to share their
experiences of patrolling northern
Australia's remote areas.
Thirty-eight soldiers from
51FNQR, the Pilbara Regt and
Norforce took part in the final phase
of the patrolman's, patrol 2IC's and
patrol commander's courses from
September 12-27, at the Mount
Bundey Training Area, 200km
south-east of Darwin.
Conditions were demanding,
with oppressively high temperatures
New and experienced RFSU
patrolmen completed a range of
CO Norforce Lt-Col Chris
Goldston, whose unit conducted
the courses, believes having sol-
diers from the three RFSUs training
together provided many benefits.
Key among these were the
opportunity for RFSU soldiers to
share their experiences of operating
in the vastly different environments
of northern Australia; for soldiers
from mixed backgrounds to better
understand their counterparts; and
to exchange ideas and experiences
that will benefit future operations.
Norforce's Pte James Woods,
who won the Student of Merit award
for the patrol 2IC's course, said it
was a good experience to hear how
the soldiers from Cape York and the
Pilbara did things.
"Our areas might be different,
but we all have the same sort of
jobs in a patrol -- the same skills of
watching and reporting," Pte Woods
said. "I've done many Operation
Resolute patrols over the years as a
patrolman. Going to the next level
and helping the patrol commander
run things is something I'm looking
forward to doing."
Pte Glen Maskill, the Pilbara
Regt, was named the Student of
Merit for the patrolman's course
and Cpl Jason Smolski, Norforce,
the Student of Merit for the patrol
The courses coincided with 1
Bde's annual training exercises at
Mt Bundey, which involved Abrams,
APCs and artillery. Lt Tim Wilson,
one of two officers from 1 MP Bn
who completed the patrol com-
mander's course, said being collo-
cated with 1 Bde was a rewarding
experience for the RFSU soldiers.
"A number of these soldiers are
from remote communities and have
had limited opportunities to see
some of the Army's more impres-
sive equipment," Lt Wilson said.
He said he was about to start his
first Op Resolute border protection
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patrol and that the course had pre-
pared him well to command a six-
The soldiers who did the courses
will conduct surveillance patrolling
operations across northern Australia,
where the six-man patrols operate
hundreds of kilometres from their
base and can extend their patrolling
for up to 28 days.
The RFSU area of operations
covers the Australian coastline from
Karratha in Western Australia to the
Torres Strait down to Cairns in Far
Norforce's new Honorary Colonel,
NT Administrator Tom Pauling,
joined Lt-Col Goldston on a visit to
the trainees during the courses.
"What he saw were young
Australian soldiers from all walks
of life and many cultures operat-
ing and working together to protect
Australia," Lt-Col Goldston said
"He believed what he saw was a
fine example of how indigenous and
non-indigenous Australians can work
together to achieve a common goal."
Choose your target: Pte James Woods takes aim during a break-contact drill during his patrol 2IC's course.
Briefing: Visiting NT Administrator and Honorary Colonel Tom
Pauling talks with Norforce CO Lt-Col Chris Goldston and RFSU
soldiers on course at the Mount Bundey Training Area.
Photos by Gnr Shannon Joyce
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