Home' Air Force News : November 24th 2011 Contents 12
November 24, 2011
SGT Steven Clarke
TEN members of 1 Airfield Operations
Support Squadron (1AOSS) Airfield
Engineering joined a contingent of 112
personnel, led by Army's 3rd Combat
Engineers Regiment (3CER), for Exer-
cise Puk Puk at Murray Barracks in Port
Moresby from August 29-October 17.
The Air Force detachment consist-
ed of four carpenters, three plumbers,
two electricians and a works supervisor
who boosted the trade skills of the con-
tingent and mentored the apprentices
and Papua New Guinea Defence Force
A part of Exercise Olgeta Warrior,
Exercise Puk Puk has now complet-
ed 10 rotations since 2002 and has
strengthened ties between the ADF and
the PNGDF, as well as providing infra-
structure enhancements to the PNGDF.
The 1AOSS Airfield Engineers
(AFENG) from RAAF Bases
Townsville and Richmond assisted in
six major projects.
The Australians were also joined
by trade apprentices from the School
of Military Engineering and PNGDF
LAC Patrick Coelho, a plumber
with 1AOSS, said Exercise Puk Puk
was an excellent experience and includ-
ed a lot of interaction with the Army
engineers, the PNGDF and the locals
who were always friendly and willing
"The highlights of the exercise
were actually getting the job done and
assisting with the productive work in
the repairs and refurbishments," LAC
"Our main challenges included the
procurement of equipment and materi-
als, and everything we worked on was
in much need of repair."
The works completed during
the exercise included converting and
renovating the old Signals Squadron
building into the new Joint Operations
Centre for the PNGDF.
Other projects were the construc-
tion of permanent accommodation to
support the barracks' guard house and
a progressive renovation of the Murray
Barracks Sergeants' Mess.
A key project in support of the
wider PNGDF community was the ren-
ovation of two training rooms to serve
as a women's education centre for the
wives of PNGDF soldiers.
The AFENG tradesmen and women
were welcomed by the 3CER members
as they provided a wealth of construc-
tion knowledge and experience to the
For most of the RAAF members this
was their first time working alongside
Army engineers, which gave them the
opportunity to see how the Army con-
ducted large-scale construction tasks.
The 1AOSS contingent completed a
day walk on the Kokoda Track, between
Owers Corner and Imita Ridge, and vis-
ited the Bomana War Cemetery, where
the remains of 3306 Australians rest.
LAC Coelho said it was a privilege
to receive an insight into the conditions
the soldiers of WWII had to endure on
the Kokoda Track.
"It was a hard slog and quite a warm
day -- it was not an easy task," he said.
"If anyone thinks it is just a stroll
in the park, they are just kidding them-
FLTLT John McCourt
WHEN it comes to military cooperation in East
Timor there is no better example than a recent
joint project at one of Australia's key bases in
Dili.The engineering capability of the Australia-led
International Stabilisation Force (ISF) combined
with some vital plant equipment from the East
Timor Defence Force (F-FDTL) to tidy up a large
external storage facility.
The base is home to the infantry component
of the ISF known as Anzac Company and it was
the true spirit of mateship that brought together
two defence forces for one big job.
Force Engineer FLTLT Sonny Benaim said the
project demonstrated the significant progress in
cooperative and effective relations between the
ISF and the F-FDTL.
"We had a need to reduce the large footprint
of our storage space at the base but, while we
had the expertise, we didn't have the heavy
machinery," FLTLT Benaim said.
"So we contacted our friends in the F-FDTL
and we combined resources. They brought along
their heavy moving equipment and we offered
some valuable mentoring and skills transfer
What's more, F-FDTL engineers and soldiers
lived among the troops at the Anzac base, mixing
with the Australians and New Zealanders over
meals, watching television and playing sport.
"It was a great initiative," FLTLT Benaim said.
"The combined activity adds to our knowledge
sharing and encourages relationship building
between the security forces here."
in East Timor
Resting at Imita
the day trek on
from left, back:
LACs Chris Fila,
Chris Rafter, Dane
Taylor, Pat Coelho
and John Buckley.
Front: SGT Steve
Clarke and LAC
David Walsh. Photo
'It was not an easy task [trekking
the Kokoda Track]. If anyone thinks
it is just a stroll in the park, they
are kidding themselves.
-- LAC Patrick Coelho, plumber
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