Home' Army News : June 23rd 2011 Contents By Lt Bill Heck
SWITCHING location for their first
real hit out for the year did not deter
the enthusiasm or determination of
the 8/9RAR Battle Group members
on Exercise Diamond Strike last
With continued rain in Queensland,
participants were forced to change
location at the last minute from a
very soggy Shoalwater Bay to more
solid footing in the Wide Bay Training
CO 8/9RAR Lt-Col Kahlil Fegan
said the current battle group's focus
was on honing foundation war-fight-
ing skills in preparation for Exercise
Talisman Sabre later in the year.
"My aim is to ensure we have
mastered our foundation war-fight-
ing skills from our sections up to and
including combat teams," he said.
"We will be thoroughly tested as
a battle group during Ex Talisman
"I'm confident that if we get this
right and do it well, we will easily
transition to the more specific train-
ing required for deployments to
Afghanistan as a mentoring task
8/9RAR will deploy to Afghanistan
next year and Ex Diamond Strike
is the first of a sequence of training
activities to progress the battalion
skills and competencies.
The exercise, held from May
16-26, provided the opportunity to
develop individual, small team, sec-
tion, platoon and company procedures.
Lt-Col Fegan said his battle group
was establishing a strong basis for
operational preparation, with each
stage of the exercise including a live-
"A key focus throughout regard-
less of the activity being conducted is
incorporating a combined-arms men-
tality and ethos," he said.
"Every time this battalion rolls out
the door it rolls out with all its attach-
ments and, most importantly, those
people I am most likely to take on
"I want to establish those essen-
tial habitual relationships now and not
wait until we formally commence our
"Members of 1 Regt RAA, 2CER,
2/14LHR (QMI) and 7CSSB, who
either contribute to, or assist in direct-
ly making up Battle Group Ram, are
an integral part of everything we do.
"Additionally we were very fortu-
nate on this particular exercise to have
been supported by a troop of Black
Hawks from 5 Avn Regt."
The battalion has closely examined
the experiences of other battle groups
and is developing synergies in train-
ing to minimise the amount of time
soldiers are away from home.
Lt-Col Fegan said ultimately the
battle group aimed to achieve more
with less while ensuring the best train-
ing opportunities were available.
"The core infantry foundation war-
fighting skills are easily linked and
easily transitioned to what we will be
doing on operations and our soldiers
see that linkage," he said.
"This provides great motivation to
ensure we get the simple things right
Development of the Wide Bay
Training Area has been ongoing, with
facilities designed specifically for
Operation Slipper including a forward
operating base, specialist ranges and
an Afghan village complex to begin
Lt-Col Fegan said range control
and the other users of the range incon-
venienced by the last-minute switch
accommodated the change of venue
"Everyone has bent over back-
wards to support and accommodate
this exercise," he said.
"The decision was made at short
notice and Wide Bay has worked per-
fectly for us.
"The facilities here are going to be
world class and this is going to be one
of the best training areas in Australia."
for Wide Bay
Operational focus: Soldiers from 8/9RAR get a heads up on common IED components during Ex Diamond
Strike at the Wide Bay Training Area, which is fast becoming a major training facility with a forward operating
base (inset), live-fire ranges and an Afghan-style village under construction.
Army June 23, 2011
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