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12 WORLD NEWS
Army March 31, 2011
By Capt Cameron Jamieson
FLYING over East Timor, the rugged
beauty of the country is spellbinding.
Lush green mountains give way to
massive twisting river systems, dotted
with rice paddies and small farms.
Although almost half of East
Timor's one million people live in
Dili, the remainder of the population is
strung out across the land, living their
lives on farms or in villages and towns
far removed from the bustling capital.
Since the troubles of 2006, the secu-
rity situation in East
Timor has stead-
ily improved, but
there is still a job
for the International
Security Force (ISF).
The bulk of
ISF troops are
now based in Dili,
so the soldiers of
ISF's Anzac Inf Coy must venture out
across the country to maintain a pres-
ence among the people.
Anzac Coy's 1 Pl, commanded by
Lt Paul Stone, has set out to patrol the
Emera district, southeast of Dili. The pla-
toon has established a patrol base at the
ISF compound in the town of Gleno.
"We've come to the Emera District
to gather information on changes to the
general security situation and assess
how life is moving forward for the
locals," Lt Stone says.
"We are conducting patrols across the
district, visiting each sub-district to gauge
how things are operating, such as local
government, police and public services.
"We're also on the lookout for any
issues or points of conflict that could
escalate into a flashpoint.
"Finally, our patrols provide an ISF
presence in the area, giving us some
face-to-face time with the people to let
them know ISF is still here for them."
On this Sunday morning patrol, 1
Section 2IC LCpl Ben Hopson leads a
five-man team through the town.
Hundreds of people have gathered
for a service at the local church, and
when the mass is over, they flood into
the streets, inundating the ISF soldiers
with welcomes, handshakes and smiles.
LCpl Hopson leads his team into the
market where things are busy, a good
sign that life is stable in this part of the
The 21-year-old 2IC then stops to
talk with some of the town's influential
citizens, his youthful face no barrier to
the seriousness of his task.
"I joined the ARes while I was still
in high school," he says. "Being a sol-
dier helped me to mature.
"Being a team leader and the young-
est member of the team can be a chal-
lenge, but although the others are 10 to
15 years older than me, they trust me to
make the right decisions."
Exhausted from all the greetings, the
patrol returns to the forward operating
base for lunch.
In the afternoon 1 Section boards
six-wheel-drive Land Rovers to travel
to Emera for a second patrol.
Upon arrival the section commander,
LCpl Ray Wintzloff,
pays a visit to Sargento
Abilio Soares, the
Commander, who says
he is thankful for the
ISF presence in East
"ISF has worked
hard with the PNTL (East Timorese
Police) to improve security all around
Timor Leste," Soares says.
"After the troubles of 2006 there were
a lot of problems in Emera, but since
2008 things have improved a lot with
"The future is looking good for us."
LCpl Wintzloff then leads his troops
into the township, where children and
adults alike are pleased to see the ISF
"This has been a great opportunity
for me," the 43-year-old section com-
"I work with a good bunch of guys
who work together as a great team.
"It's been good to work alongside
the younger guys and give them a bit of
LCpl Wintzloff stops with his trans-
lator to talk to a deputy councillor from
an outlying town, keen to gather as
much information as possible on life in
the Emera District.
The patrol then moves on through the
town to the church, where children are
enjoying some youth group activities.
Finally the troops are satisfied with
their efforts and wind their way back to
their vehicles to return to Gleno for the
Tonight's dinner is special, with two
soldiers who are cooks in civilian life
preparing a barbecue for the platoon.
The diggers gratefully consume the
fresh rations, and afterwards over a cup
of coffee, Pte Glen Kelly reflects on his
deployment to ISF.
"I have kids of my own, and to see
the children here smiling and happy and
not scared is a reward in itself," he said.
Community forum: LCpl Ray Wintzloff discusses community issues with local representatives during a
section patrol to the regional town of Emera. Inset: This bridge, built by Japanese engineers as part of
recent reconstruction projects, connects the town to the rest of East Timor. Photos by Capt Cameron Jamieson
'I have kids of my own,
and to see the chil-
dren here smiling and
happy and not scared
is a reward in itself.'
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