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Army November 7, 2013
Personnel prove their humanitarian assistance and disaster relief skills on Exercise Equateur in New Caledonia
Command post: The Australian contingent deployed to New
Caledonia on Exercise Equateur used their skills in operations,
planning, logistics, communication and legal to support the
international training event. Inset, Maj Scott Lymbery hard at work
in the logistics cell of French Armed Forces New Caledonia HQ.
A SEVERE cyclone struck the nation
of 'Middleland' in the Loyalty Islands
province of New Caledonia. It exacer-
bated economic and political tensions
that had been brewing for some time
and the ADF was called in to evacuate
citizens and provide humanitarian assis-
tance and disaster relief.
This was the scenario ADF person-
nel were given when they took part in
a biennial multilateral command-post
exercise in New Caledonia in October.
Exercise Equateur involved nine
nations -- France, UK, Australia, New
Zealand, Tonga, Papua New Guinea,
Vanuatu, Canada and Japan.
Australian contingent leader Maj
Graeme Toms said
the eight ADF per-
sonnel filled roles
within the CJFHQ
in operations, plan-
"It was a chance
to enhance our pro-
between the ADF
and partner nations
both in the Pacific
and NATO," Maj
a positive defence
New Caledonia and
other regional part-
ners is important to
included virtual force integration train-
ing before deploying from the mainland
to the outer island of Lifou.
Phase two involved the evacuation
of citizens and provision of disaster
relief for up to 48 hours before handing
over to non-government organisations
to continue to support the local popula-
During phase three personnel coor-
dinated an evacuation of citizens from
the outer island of Tiga concurrent with
a virtual airdrop insertion, amphibious
lodgments and counterinsurgency oper-
ations back on the mainland's east and
west coasts. Forces then withdrew back
to Noumea in the fictitious 'Southland'
as part of phase four.
Maj Scott Lymbery, cargo officer
with the Amphibious Task Group,
worked in the logistics cell, which was
French-led but included staff from the
UK, Vanuatu, and PNG defence forces.
"Our role was to ensure that all
logistic requirements for the scenario --
maritime and land -- were met, includ-
ing movements," Maj Lymbery said.
"Working in a multinational work-
place, a real melting pot, was fantastic.
It was surprising how quickly we were
up and running as a headquarters.
"The interesting thing I observed is
how similar our logistic processes, lan-
guage and terminology are."
Maj Lymbery said the exercise high-
lighted some important areas of train-
ing for the future.
"The amphibious operational envi-
ronment really focuses the mind, as
there are so many constraints, including
in logistics," he
input is criti-
cal, and will
be so for next
Croix Du Sud,
which is the
of Ex Equateur
was a useful
and necessary lead-in to Exercise Croix
Du Sud, an important amphibious exer-
cise for the ADF that will be held next
"The RAN's new LHD ships are
coming on-line later next year, so we
need to have a well-trained amphibious
force, preferably in a multinational set-
ting," he said.
The ADF involvement comprised
personnel from the Amphibious Task
Group, DJFHQ, HQAC and HQJOC.
The group was working out of the
French Armed Forces New Caledonia
Headquarters in Noumea for the table-
Ex Croix Du Sud 14 will culminate
with an Anzac Day service involving all
participating nations on April 25.
Working in a
workplace, a real
melting pot, was
fantastic. It was
quickly we were up
and running as a
-- Maj Scott Lymbery,
Amphibious Task Group
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