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Kyle Johnson - Darwin

The streets of Exmouth, Western Australia were in good hands when Brisbane-based Ready Combat Team (RCT) kept a 24-hour watch during Exercise Northern Shield.

The soldiers, from 6th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR), provided a significant local presence by patrolling urban and rural areas, searching for role player enemy combatants and vehicles of interest.

Corporal Kyle Johnson, Section Commander of his patrol, said the exercise provided a unique surrounding for the 6 RAR troops who don’t normally get to patrol within a township.

"This was really new for the guys, it gave them a different environment to operate in," Corporal Johnson said.

"Generally we conduct patrols in the field environment. Patrolling in an actual town, interacting with the locals has been motivating. I think they’ve really liked having us around," he said.

The RCT conducted foot and mounted patrols by day and night using Protected Mobility Vehicles (Bushmasters). Their presence around the small Exmouth community has been well received.

Mr Mark de Wet, travelling in the area, said it was exciting to see so much activity around the place and to interact with the soldiers.

"I think it's fantastic to have the Defence Force around, we've certainly noticed them," Mr de Wet said.

"The lads were very friendly and were happy to talk with me about their gear and weapons. Friendly bunch."

Part of the exercise involves community engagement; gaining local confidence in Defence's ability to deploy into remote areas very quickly.

"If we had a real security threat, I would feel very confident knowing that our forces have the ability to protect us," Mr de Wet said.

The Brisbane based soldiers arrived in Exmouth via Air Force C-17 Globemaster, C-130J Hercules and KC-30 Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft on Sunday and Monday.

Exercise Northern Shield was run from 19-24 September and involves more than 1000 personnel from the Army, Navy and Air Force.