6 RAR Exercise Croix Du Sud

6 RAR D Coy recently participated in the major joint and military international Exercise Croix du Sud.

6 RAR D Coy recently participated in the major joint and military international Exercise Croix du Sud. This exercise was planned and led by the French Armed Forces and consisted of a multinational force conducting post disaster Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR). This saw involvement from Australian Navy, Air force and Army elements working together with members from 19 other nations.

D Coy, the lead element from the Australian contingent, was commanded by Major Sean Caughey, forming a Combat Team (CT) of over 150 Australian Army personnel. These personnel were drawn from 6 RAR D Coy, Anti-Armour Platoon, Recon/Snipers Platoon, Signals Platoon and Mortar Platoon. It also saw personnel from the 1st Military Police Battalion, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, 1st Regiment Royal Australian Artillery, 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment and the 2nd Health Battalion. CT-D also had international attachments which saw a British Royal Gurkha Platoon and personal from the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment attached.

D Coy was hosted by a Company from the 2nd Foreign Parachute Regiment (2e REP) based in Nandai Military Camp which is located in the centre of New Caledonia. The Exercise was split into 2 phases. Phase 1 saw D Coy’s CT join 2e REP at the base in Nandai. This phase saw the CT and 2e REP run through a week of lead up training IOT build relations, showcase equipment and share TTP’s in a variety of different settings consisting of Jungle, Urban, Stability and Green role operations. The week also saw a platoon of Australian, French & Gurkha personal travel to Noumea for the International Military Skills competition. This team placed first under the command of 11 Platoon Commander, LT Nathan Massingham.

D Coy was fortunate enough to experience ANZAC Day in both Nandai Military Camp and Noumea on 25 April 2023, as well as a small service with the New Zealand contingent on 26 April 2023. The Nandai service saw the majority of the Combat Team, 2e REP and the Royal Gurka Platoon come together for a dawn service followed by a gun fire breakfast. It was a special occasion which saw personnel from different countries come together as mates. CPL Morrissey, 43C Section commander read the ode and said “It was a great honour and truly humbling”.
Phase 2 was the exercise itself and saw the CT deploy to a variety of different coastal towns to conduct stability operations to support the main effort of HADR. 10 Platoon, commanded by LT Nick Linden deployed to the town of Bourail. 10 Platoon completed a series of tactical actions consisting of VCP’s, Cordon and Searches, Crowd Control, KLE and dismounted patrols with Australian Military Police and French K9 handlers. LT Linden explained “This was a fantastic opportunity for the PL to conduct an exercise which relates to real world problems and could potentially see the team conduct similar tactical actions in real time in the near future”.

11 PL commanded by LT Nathan Massingham deployed to the coastal town of Houailou where they conducted VCP’s, Cordon and Searches and KLE’s. 11 PL were given the important task of conducting a non-combatant evacuation operation and were required to evacuate personnel from the town of Houailou for 12 hours. LT Massingham reaffirmed the importance of this exercise by saying “This exercise is more than just the tactical exercise, this is about building relationships with our partners so that in the future we can work with them”.

12 PL commanded by LT Will Boscato deployed to the coastal town of Houailou prior to 11 PL and were required to secure the town and HLZ for follow on forces. 43B was tasked with securing a HLZ and providing CPP to Lieutenant General James Jarrard, Deputy Commanding General, United States Army Pacific and Brigadier Valery Putz of the French Armed Forces in the Pacific region. 12 PL main effort was to locate and capture a HVT known as ‘Michael”. It saw 12 PL conduct a number of Cordon and Strikes along the East Coast of New Caledonia searching for “Michael”.

The end of the Exercise saw all D COY CT elements Return to the Nandai Military Camp for refit to fight, celebrations & acknowledgments. Overall this exercise was a fantastic opportunity for Australian soldiers to train, work and live with soldiers of other nations and build great relationships which will be remembered for the years to come.

Compiled by LT Boscato, 6 RAR, D COY, OC 12 PL

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