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Army December 10, 2009
By Lt Peter Martinelli
"IED, IED, IED." The sharp crack
of an improvised explosive device
snapped through the dusk in the
But the diggers of 2 Coy, 1 Cdo
Regt, stayed calm and ignored the
dropping temperature as they car-
ried out their now instinctive drills
and relayed information through-
out the Commando Company Group
As the sun dipped below the
ridgeline, the injured were carried
away for treatment, and the meticu-
lous village clearance began.
This time the IED was simulated,
and the village had been erected in
the southern end of Cultana Training
Area, where the westerly winds
whipped over the hills and brought
frigid showers down on the troops.
The CCG was made up of com-
mandos, armoured crewmen of
1 Armd Regt, sappers from IRR and
supported by enablers including a
RAAF Orion, 20 STA Regt and a
range of other ADF agencies.
When the simulated IED was
triggered, the collective group was
close to finishing the culminating
serial of their mission rehearsal
exercise (MRE), rounding off a
month spent near Port Augusta in
The CCG MRE was supported
by a number of role players, includ-
ing linguists from the School of
Languages and an "Afghan Security
Force" partnering element.
The role players gave CCG
members the opportunity to cut their
teeth at interaction with an unfa-
miliar local population and a devel-
oping partnering force before they
The night before elements of
the CCG tactically entered the
small village, Special Operations
Commander Australia Maj-Gen
Timothy McOwan made clear
his stance regarding the force ele-
"I want to emphatically state
the fact that I have no doubt about
the capacity of this FE," Maj-Gen
"I have no doubt that you will
perform well in the field of battle."
He warned that the counterin-
surgency fight for which the CCG
had trained would also require tradi-
tional war-fighting expertise.
"I expect you will see action,"
Maj-Gen McOwan said.
"Do not relax to the point where
you expect that counterinsurgency
does not require hard-edged soldierly
He said the FE had a "wealth
of experience", an opinion shared
by CO 1 Cdo Regt Lt-Col Stuart
Lt-Col Davies said his unit inte-
grated the varied world and opera-
tional experiences of its ARes mem-
bers with those of former and cur-
rent ARA staff from 2 Cdo Regt and
"They have quite remarkable
backgrounds," Lt-Col Davies said.
"There is a good mix in the CCG.
The guys have drawn on previous
experiences. There is a wealth of
operational experience in the unit."
The 2 Coy CCG included police,
lawyers, teachers, emergency service
personnel and other professionals.
"For counterinsurgency opera-
tions, they can draw on these back-
grounds and their experiences, prob-
ably more so than in a traditional
war-fighting role," Lt-Col Davies
said. "It is a very strong complemen-
"Do not relax to
the point where
you expect that
does not require
-- Maj-Gen Timothy McOwan
Equipped: A commando in full kit.
Roped in: Commandos prepare the fast rope for the activity.
Sharp eyes: A commando looks for enemy movement from his Long Range Patrol Vehicle. Photos by Cpl Chris Moore
Charge: A raid is conducted to clear a village at the Cultana range.
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