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Army November 8, 2012
With big new amphibious ships coming soon,
troops from 1RAR embarked on one of the Navy's
oldest vessels to find their sea legs in New
Caledonia, Leut Samantha Dudley reports.
TROOPS from B Coy, 1RAR,
joined a multinational humani-
tarian force conducting disas-
ter relief in New Caledonia for
Exercise Croix du Sud from October
The biennial exercise, led by French
Armed Forces New Caledonia (FANC),
included participating military forces
from Australia, New Zealand, Papua
New Guinea, Tonga Vanuatu, Japan, the
UK, the US and Canada.
The 92-strong 1RAR contingent was
embarked on board HMAS Tobruk and
supported by troops from 35 Water Tpt
Sqn.CO Maj Paul Sanderson said the exer-
cise was an opportunity for his company
to work in a multinational environment
among regional partners.
"It is extremely important to practise
and become familiar working as part of
an international coalition on tasks such
as we've done during Ex Croix du Sud,
delivering humanitarian aid to a popula-
tion that has suffered from a natural dis-
aster," he said.
B Coy soldiers worked alongside the
FANC conducting vehicle check points,
quick response force tasks and vital asset
security operations to enable the evacua-
tion of civilians during the exercise.
B Coy section commander Cpl Philip
Kong described the exercise as "a real
"Working with and integrating with
all different nations has been invaluable,"
he said. "It's been a really good exercise
It was the first time most of the 1RAR
troops had conducted amphibious opera-
tions from HMAS Tobruk, but they soon
gained valuable experience.
The soldiers transited from
Townsville to Noumea aboard HMAS
Tobruk and conducted multiple embarka-
tions and disembarkations from the ship,
often working with the lighter amphibi-
ous resupply cargo vessels operated by
35 Water Tpt Sqn.
Maj Sanderson said the experience
would serve his troops well as the tempo
of amphibious work ramped up in the
"Exercises such as Croix du Sud are
extremely important in developing our
skills, especially in amphibious opera-
tions," he said.
"It's helped us build our expertise as
infantry operating off ships, which will
be important for the future with LHDs."
Setting sail: Troops from 1RAR make the journey from HMAS Tobruk to the shore in a lighter amphibious
resupply cargo vessel operated by 35 Water Tpt Sqn.
Photos by LS Brenton Freind
For a full gallery of photos from Ex Croix
du Sud, check out Army online at
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