ADF personnel have welcomed French soldiers ahead of an interoperability exercise in Queensland.
Personnel from the French Armed Forces in New Caledonia (FANC) are preparing to train alongside the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment for Exercise Peronne, after arriving at Gallipoli Barracks.
The FANC contingent of 28, welcomed by local Indigenous elder Uncle Desmond Sandy, engaged in familiarisation training to integrate with Alpha Company and the rest of Brisbane’s 7th Combat Brigade on Exercise Diamond Dagger.
This is expected to include vehicle, weapons, and physical training sessions ahead of field-based training in the coming weeks.
FANC Contingent Commander Captain Paul said French personnel would benefit from military training in a foreign environment.
“The aim is to work together with 6 RAR’s Alpha Company to see how they work, show them our procedures, and work together to improve,” CAPT Paul said.
“We are good soldiers, we’re very happy to improve ourselves on Exercise Diamond Dagger.
“The environment is new, none of us have been here before, it’s a new field training area, a new ‘enemy’, but I’m confident we will be able to work well alongside Alpha Company.”
Commanding Officer 6 RAR Lieutenant Colonel Richard Niessl welcomed the French Armed Forces and the opportunity to hone warfighting skills.
“They’re young, they’re energetic, they’re motivated, they’re keen to be here, they’ve got the same level of enthusiasm for being in Australia as we would have if we had the opportunity to go to France or New Caledonia,” LTCOL Niessl said.
“… The most important thing is that we strengthen our relationship with the French Armed Forces, we build stronger connections, develop our interoperability, and learn from each other.
“Strengthening the connection between our two nations is vital, so when we do need to work together in the future, the foundations are already in place.”