Home' Army News : May 13th 2010 Contents Fleet Network Pty Ltd D/L No. 20462
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By Sgt Brian Hartigan
A NEW program of mentoring
and training support for East
Timor's army engineers is set to
have huge flow-on effects for the
country when plumbing expertise
comes on tap later this year.
In the week before Anzac Day,
several East Timor Defence Force
(F-FDTL) engineers started the
first week of what is hoped will be
an ongoing one-week-per-month
plumbing program over the next
Maj Carrissa Ibbott, force engi-
neer at JTF 631 HQ, said the pro-
gram would teach the F-FDTL the
basics of plumbing maintenance
so they could eventually be self
sufficient in the trade in their own
facilities, with an additional goal
that they would also go out into
the community and start providing
or repairing water distribution sys-
tems in communities and districts.
"What we've found is that
because there is very little water
distribution infrastructure in the
districts, the F-FDTL engineers
don't have a lot of basic plumb-
ing knowledge that many people
in Australia might pick up through
osmosis, seeing taps being fixed
or other general plumbing repairs
around their homes," Maj Ibbott
"So, we've had to start off very
very basic with these guys -- how
taps work, how water flows, why
water pipes leak and how to repair
them and so on.
"But, while we are starting off
at a very low level, we hope in six
to eight months we can have the
F-FDTL engineers up to a standard
where they can go off and do com-
munity water distribution projects
CMIC engineering liaison offic-
er Capt Pete Maccheroni said the
F-FDTL engineers were actually
incredibly skilled construction and
"They are very good at creat-
ing structures from very simple
materials -- in fact, I'd put them up
there equivalent with our combat
engineers in terms of construction
skills," he said.
"That comes from the fact they
do it all the time -- they have been
building stuff since they could
walk, just to survive and support
"We have a term in RAE called
'sappernuity' which is looking out-
side the box and getting the job
done no matter what it is, no mat-
ter what tools or resources you
have -- and quintessentially, that's
exactly what these guys have been
doing their whole lives.
"We are refining those skills to
bring them up to their goal which
is to be a world-class UN engineer
force able to deploy around the
world as construction engineers."
MEMBERS of the International
Stabilisation Force (ISF) and
Defence Cooperation Program
(DCP) have combined to provide
invaluable engineering training for
the East Timor Defence Force (F-
Only 20 trained engineers oper-
ate in the F-FDTL at present, but the
training course will qualify 25 train-
ees with infrastructure construction
and maintenance skills, more than
doubling the F-FDTL's capability.
The trade will be further bol-
stered by 106 engineers who have
recently graduated from recruit
course, and a similar cohort is
expected next year.
The training is being delivered
in Metinaro, east of Dili, by a small
contingent of Australian specialists.
"Today they are learning how
to measure out squares and right-
angle triangles and how to mark out
straight lines. Tomorrow they will be
outside putting this theory into prac-
tice when they start concreting works
and start building footbridges," WO2
Chris Dabbs said.
The students have so far showed
a promising work ethic and enthusi-
asm to learn.
"They understand what they learn
here is not just good for their army
work but they can also take their new
skills home and do things on their
own houses and in their communi-
ties," WO2 Dabbs said.
Courses such as these give the
F-FDTL much greater capacity to
improve schools, build roads, and
construct facilities for military and
civilian purposes, reducing the
nation's reliance on international
16 WORLD NEWS
Army May 13, 2010
Engineering a future
By Sgt Brian Hartigan
EVERYONE loves biscuits -- especially the large,
round, chewy ones associated with Anzac Day
-- but for the troops at HQ JTF 631 in East Timor,
biscuits and the letters that come with them mean
a great deal more.
A dedicated and well-organised biscuit-making
team in Inverell, NSW, has been making and sending
biscuits to the troops in East Timor "every Monday
since Peter Cosgrove's time".
On January 9, 2010, the team convened again, as
they do every year, to farewell some ladies, welcome
new members and develop a roster for the year.
The stalwarts of the team were there again
-- Heather Rose, Rosemary Bender, Di Swan, Judith
Hamilton, Robin Moore and Pearl Converey.
Team coordinator and taskmaster Thea Batterham
said the team of 15 was ready and willing to support
our troops for another year, and promised to write a
letter from the home front with every new batch of
fresh, home-baked morale boosters.
"We do it so willingly because we think of you as
our own sons/daughters and grandsons/granddaugh-
ters," Thea said. "We are very proud of you, love you
all and pray for your safe return to Australia."
While few members of the International
Stabilisation Force (ISF) actually come from Inverell,
news of drought, fire, babies, deaths, the local footy
team's prowess and general community gossip brings
a welcome sense of home.
ISF CO Col Simon Stuart, on behalf of the troops,
thanked the ladies for their dedication, biscuits and,
more particularly, their letters from home.
Teaching skills: Spr Louis Dupressoir, 2CER, instructs East
Timorese soldiers in the basics of plumbing.
Toeing the line: Carpenter Cpl Michael Britten explains to East Timorese Defence Force engineers how to mark right angles off a straight edge.
Photos by LAC Leigh Cameron
news the right
mix for troops
Tapping into potential expertise
Spr Louis Dupressoir, a plumb-
er attached with 2CER and deliver-
ing plumbing training at Metinaro,
said he was helping train the F-
FDTL engineers to get their basic
hand skills up to scratch.
"They are doing really well in
the training... their enthusiasm to
learn is very high," Spr Dupressoir
said.Capt Maccheroni said as far
as enthusiasm and work ethic was
concerned, the F-FDTL engineers
were a stride ahead of most sol-
diers because their basic skills
came from their communities.
"They are also keen to learn
everything they can because it not
only helps in their military occupa-
tion, but also goes back into their
communities and rolls on right
throughout the country."
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