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Army August 2, 2012
WHEN members of 3 Pl, Anzac Coy,
were kicking around a soccer ball with
children in East Timor's Bobonaro
District in May, they didn't realise they
were making history.
It turned out the soldiers were on the last
regional engagement patrol of Operation
Connecting: Clockwise from top, from left, Pte James Appelhof, Cpl Michelle Rutland and Pte Stewart
Lennie browse local produce in Maliana. Pte Stephen Bongiorno (left) and Pte Aaron Pipkorn kick a
soccer ball with children during the patrol. Anzac Coy's LCpl Ricky Ward (left), Pte George Coltman and
Pte Aaron Pipkorn take in the view from the Balibo fort.
Photos by Cpl Oliver Carter
Investing in a
ADF role in East Timor is set to change
... the people
great pride in
and country ...
-- Lt Ted Guinea, Anzac Coy
Lt Ted Guinea and his
team took great pride
in contributing to the
strong bonds Australian
soldiers have formed
with the East Timorese
through similar patrols
over more than 10 years.
"Ironically the con-
fidence drawn from this
will mean the end of
future regional engage-
ment patrols, as our role in East Timor
changes in the coming months," he said.
"To know we are the last in a long line of
similar patrols makes the experience an even
greater honour for all involved.
"We will fondly remember the people of
Bobonaro District and continue to wish them
every success as East Timor emerges ever
brighter among the nations of the world."
The members of 3 Pl Anzac Coy visited
the centres of Maliana, Bobonaro Village,
Balibo and Aidabalaten during the eight day
Lt Guinea said East Timor's rugged
beauty was a highlight.
"We experienced mountain ranges cov-
ered in fog, beautiful golden beaches and
open farming plains," he said.
"Despite the breathtaking scenery, it was
the warm response from locals that was
the most humbling experience."
During their time in the villages
they interacted with the local communi-
ties, making visits to the teachers and
students at schools, cheering on local
sporting competitions and playing soc-
cer with the kids. A few people were
asked to attend family
celebrations at the Chefe
Suco's house in Rairobo.
"Despite having few
of the trappings of the
Western world, the peo-
ple of Bobonaro District
showed great pride
in their community
and country and made
us feel welcome," Lt
"They also showed
us a thing or two about
how to play sport."
Maliana is one of East Timor's larg-
est population centres, with hundreds
from across the district travelling to its
gymnasium and soccer field daily to
play volleyball and soccer. These are
the two biggest sports in the nation and
provided an opportunity for Anzac Coy
soldiers to play against local children
and brush up on their Tetum.
"The children were thrilled to play
and work on their English, although
on more than one occasion charades
helped cross the language barrier, much
to the youngsters' delight," Lt Guinea
"Regardless of language barriers it
also became clear that our soccer skills
needed some more work too."
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