New soldiers on a steep learning curve

31 May 2023

It was a baptism of live-fire for new members of 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (8/9RAR), as they took part in Exercise Cobra Run in Queensland this month.

As the battalion conducted platoon live-fire and chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence (CBRN-D) training at the Wide Bay Training Area, Charlie Company also integrated protected mobility vehicles (PMVs) into their serials.

Second-in-command Captain Todd Levings said it was a steep learning curve, "given it was our first exercise as a mounted combat team".  

"We had 40 new soldiers join the company in the last two months and it was a great opportunity for them," Captain Levings said.

"The integration of PMVs and CBRN-D while working within a battle group context have set the conditions to continue developing and preparing our battle group throughout Exercise Diamond Strike and Talisman Sabre."

The exercise provided the company with a good opportunity to train new soldiers, and for sections to enhance their understanding of each other in terrain that resembles the ADF's primary operating environment.

Lance Corporal Andrew Johns said everyone enjoyed the chance to live-fire as platoons in a combined arms setting, and push through adversity together.

"It was great to send some rounds down range and build up to platoon live-fire by day and night," Lance Corporal Johns said.

"The performance and attitude of everyone was top notch and we adapted to every task and the different types of weather that came our way."

The company also practised working with Battle Group Ram's headquarters.

The opportunity to develop new capabilities in the lead-up to Exercise Diamond Strike and Talisman Sabre enhanced Battle Group Ram's skills and readiness.



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