Personnel from the three nations have combined to develop infrastructure near PNG’s capital.
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More than 100 engineers representing the armed forces of Australia, Papua New Guinea and the United Kingdom have teamed up for Exercise Puk Puk — a training activity aimed at improving existing infrastructure at the Goldie River Training Depot near Port Moresby.
This involves building a classroom and inert demolition training facility, as well as upgrading a guard house at the depot.
Lieutenant Desmond Reuben, of the Papua New Guinea Defence Force (PNGDF), welcomed the opportunity to learn from Australian and British personnel.
“I have broken up my troops, so they are working together in partnership,” Lieutenant Reuben said.
Australian Army Captain Lara Perkovic, from 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, noted the importance of the work undertaken by the counterparts.
“Our main scope of work item is a classroom at Field Engineer Wing, with the second main scope of work item being a guard house refurbishment,” CAPT Perkovic said.
“This exercise is a great opportunity for us to develop our people-to-people relationships and build wantok (a PNG term meaning reciprocal relationship) with the PNGDF and British Army.
“The PNGDF have been amazing, especially those at Goldie River Training Depot, the Koiari community, members from Directorate of Engineers, and the engineer battalion themselves.”
Lieutenant Hannah Garside, from the UK 26 Engineer Regiment, said Exercise Puk Puk provided UK personnel with a unique opportunity to hone their skills.
“I think everyone is excited to be here and practise their trade because, being from a UK armoured unit, we don’t get to practise our construction trade as much as we’d like,” Lieutenant Garside said.
“We hope to demonstrate our support for the ADF and PNGDF, and to also build relationships that support our contribution to Puk Puk for future years.”
This is the latest of several engagements between Townsville-based 3rd Brigade and PNG forces, building on Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program.
“I have been really fortunate to go through training with a lot of PNGDF members and I have met a lot of them here as well that I consider wantok,” CAPT Perkovic added.
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