Over 1,000 ADF personnel have tested their warfighting skills in an intense military exercise in central Queensland.
After wrapping up Operation Bushfire Assist and Operation COVID-19 Assist, the Australian Defence Force’s 7th Combat Brigade (7 Bde) was deployed to the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in central Queensland to test their planning and warfighting skills on Exercise Diamond Catalyst.
Over 1,000 troops endured harsh weather conditions and intense battle staff training in simulated battles throughout the month of October.
Major Sam Thackray said the exercise was designed to confirm 7 Bde’s preparedness, ability to plan and contribute to whole-of-government efforts, including continued support to Operation COVID-19 Assist and the high-risk weather season.
The simulated scenario required 7 Bde to conduct offensive operations against a fictitious enemy, as part of a multi-national force.
According to MAJ Thackray, the exercise involved planning activity that benefited from participation of multiple parties outside 7 Bde, including input from overseas partners.
“The staff worked collaboratively to deliver very good outcomes,” he said.
“Partnering with the team from the Combat Training Centre, led by US Army Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Rhodes, was very beneficial and welcome.
“They facilitated excellent learning to ensure we are better prepared in the future.”
MAJ Thackray said the planning process was agile, and capable of being adapted to other scenarios.
“Though the activity was focused on combat operations the scenario is simply a vehicle for exercising commanders and staff in the planning process,” he said.
“7 Bde has conducted a number of planning activities that have led to more than 1,700 personnel from across the brigade deploying to support domestic operations this year.”
Reflecting on the month-long exercise, MAJ Thackray said he was pleased to see personnel fine turning their warfighting skills.
“Our junior leaders and soldiers have made a significant contribution this year to protect the nation through bushfires, COVID-19, and now finishing the year with Exercise Diamond Catalyst,” he said.
“Their preparedness and resiliency through these difficult times has been extremely impressive.”
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