Home' Army News : March 28th 2013 Contents Army March 28, 2013
AUSTRALIAN soldiers in
the Solomon Islands have
tested their jungle survival
skills and learnt additional
techniques with the help of a platoon
from Papua New Guinea's 1st Royal
Pacific Islands Regiment.
The jungle survival experience
began with two days of intense train-
ing to teach the Australian soldiers
the basics of surviving in the jungle
without the expectation of resupply.
The Papua New Guinean soldiers
taught the Australians how to con-
struct shelters to protect themselves
from the unique jungle environment,
construct bush tools and collect
LCpl Travis Ward, of CTF 635,
said everyone on the course appreci-
ated the training provided.
"We were taught to find local
ingredients that could be used to treat
minor injuries," he said.
"One in particular was mustard
leaf which you could wrap around a
minor cut and it would heal up better
than if you had used a bandaid."
The soldiers were taught to source
food from the local environment and
how to cook the foliage, berries and
roots they had gathered, as well as
starting fires without matches.
2Lt Josh Dorpar, of the 1st Royal
Pacific Islands Regiment, oversaw
the training and said much of what
they taught the Australians was tradi-
tional knowledge handed down from
parents to their children.
"It's not something you learn dur-
ing training," he said.
"It is unique to Papua New
Guinea, living in the jungle is some-
thing that is handed down from gen-
eration to generation."
After the initial training, the sol-
diers broke down into their sections
and were dropped off in the remote
jungle with no more than a multi-
tool, machete, mozzie net, water and
one ration pack minus matches, to
share between them. They had to
fend for themselves for three days.
Each section quickly got to work
splitting into groups to ensure all
critical tasks would be completed by
nightfall under the watchful eye of
two safety staff.
Pte Carlo Labra said after his sec-
tion had cleared the ground for their
camp, he started work on making a
"Some of the group started mak-
ing rope from bark to tie everything
together," he said.
"I was part of the team searching
for the right wood to construct the
During their training, the soldiers
learnt they couldn't build a shelter
and tools from just any wood -- cer-
tain species and specific ages of
growth tended to work better for dif-
The section then gathered wood
for a fire and tried to find food.
LCpl Ward said coconuts were in
"We tried out the numerous ways
to prepare and eat coconut," he said.
"Turns out there aren't many."
To supplement their coconut din-
ner, they traded ration pack items
for fresh food at a nearby village and
found a local bush food known as
cassava, which is much like a potato.
"You can do all the normal things
you do with potatoes such as steam-
ing and baking," LCpl Ward said.
"We got shown a really great
way to prepare food using a bamboo
Trimming a bamboo stick above
and below the joints created a strong
cooking container which the soldiers
filled with layers of cassava, pump-
kin leaf, sweet potato, banana and
more pumpkin leaf, and then sealed
with a banana leaf before rotating
over the fire to steam everything
"You then crack it open and enjoy
a really good meal," LCpl Ward said.
A series of games with prizes
was introduced to make the jungle
Surviving the jungle
The jungle is teeming with food, but survival
takes skill, Cpl Nick Wiseman learns.
Staying alive: A section-sized shelter keeps soldiers out of the elements during the practical phase of the
survival course in Solomon Islands..
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