Cadets think critically in Cooma

3 April 2024

The last time Cooma townsfolk saw soldiers manning checkpoints, they were stopping cars and knocking on doors assisting the government’s COVID-19 response.

Last month, Army returned to the same streets, but this time they were protecting the town against a fictional enemy.

More than 100 Royal Military College – Duntroon 1st Class Staff Cadets participated in an urban operations exercise from March 8 to 24, their final practical activity before graduation.

Staff Cadet Callam Innes-Lu said exercises in rural towns such as Cooma added a sense of realism that went beyond the training scenarios and was difficult to emulate.

“The biggest eye-opener was considering how we were perceived by the public, how we achieve the mission and have a positive community impact,” Staff Cadet Innes-Lu said.

Scenarios included protecting key assets, such as electrical substations, meeting with community leaders and cordoning off buildings, before a culminating activity in the final days of the exercise. 

It was their first time operating in a 'complex' urban environment, and it built on previous training in II Class.  

This included exercises in a conventional setting at Puckapunyal and Exercise Shaggy Ridge, which is considered to be the most arduous at Duntroon.

The cadets were assessed on their ability to lead and respond to different scenarios, such as dealing with civilians who changed allegiances, or how they reacted when local media got in the way of vital asset protection.

It assisted their development to think critically, apply knowledge, solve difficult problems, value culture as a critical capability and communicate effectively.

Cadets will receive further theory testing in Canberra before they graduate in June.



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