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Army November 24, 2011
A CONTINGENT of 112 per-
sonnel led by 3CER's 25 Spt Sqn
completed six major projects dur-
ing Exercise Puk Puk at Murray
Barracks in Port Moresby from
August 29 to October 17.
As part of Exercise Olgeta Warrior,
Ex Puk Puk has completed 10 rota-
tions since 2002 and strengthened ties
between the ADF and the Papua New
Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF), as
well as enhancing local infrastructure.
Ten trade trainees from SME were
part of the contingent along with per-
sonnel from 3CSR who setup and
maintained communications, and
health support was provided by a
small team from 1HSB.
The PNGDF engineer battalion
provided 23 sappers who worked
alongside their ADF counterparts.
OC 25 Spt Sqn Maj Andrew Elgey
said experience gained by his squad-
ron over the past three years helped
immensely in the smooth and efficient
running of this year's exercise.
"Port Moresby afforded more
opportunities than our 2010 experi-
ence of conducting the exercise in
isolated Wewak and allowed local
suppliers to be more extensively used
rather than bringing most items from
Australia," Maj Elgey said.
"The exercise still provided a num-
ber of planning and logistics challeng-
es for Sqn HQ to deal with and many
of the personnel learnt a considerable
amount from the experience."
The marquee project was a refur-
bishment of the Signals Sqn build-
ing turning it into HQ PNGDF Joint
Operations Centre (JOC).
The JOC provides working accom-
modation for about 20 personnel and
allows the PNGDF to integrate its
operational planning staff and com-
munications specialists under one roof.
One of the first activities
being planned for the facility is the
PNGDF's support to PNG national
elections in 2012.
Other projects included the con-
struction of permanent accommoda-
tion to support the barracks' guard
house and a progressive renovation of
the Murray Barracks Sergeants' Mess.
For the first time, Air Force
tradesmen from the Townsville-
based Airfield Engineer Section of 1
Airfield Operational Support Squadron
(1AOSS) supported Ex Puk Puk with
Works officer Capt Spencer
Milburn said the Air Force tradesmen
brought a wealth of experience and
enthusiasm to the project.
"Some of them were involved
throughout the entire process from the
reconnaissance in April," he said.
"The collocation in Townsville was
important as it allowed 1AOSS per-
sonnel to support planning, particular-
ly with the important design and pro-
curement processes, without spending
extra time away from home."
Maj Elgey said Ex Puk Puk
allowed him to invest in the junior
soldiers by appointing them as site
foremen or activity OICs, to develop
their leadership and management skills
"It was pleasing to see their con-
fidence and ability grow over such a
short period of time," he said.
3CSSB's WO2 Steve Gibbs
ensured there was always something to
do in the downtime, including visits to
local markets or organising diving and
fishing charters as well as PT.
WO2 Gibbs also deployed to
develop local capacity through a modi-
fied combat fitness leader course and
trained 10 PNGDF soldiers as combat
PNGDF previously had only
one recognised physical trainer but
through the perseverance of WO2
Gibbs and the attitude of his train-
ees the capability was significantly
A highlight of the deployment for
many of the soldiers and airmen was
the opportunity to walk a portion of
the Kokoda Track from Ower's Corner
to Imita Ridge.
SSM 25 Spt Sqn WO2 Justin Jones
said the opportunity was an excellent
insight into the suffering and sacrifices
endured to protect Australia.
"It's something I'll always remem-
ber," WO2 Jones said.
Help for a close neighbour
Building friendships: WO2 Steve Gibbs runs a combat fitness trainer course for PNG soldiers while engineers
work on construction tasks (inset) during Ex Puk Puk.
Photos by Sgt Samson Darma and Capt Spencer Milburn
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