7 November 2011
Exercise Southern Reaper, a military exercise involving more than 1200 personnel, is underway in the South Island.
The exercise will run until 13 November in the Oamaru, Herbert Forest, Waimate, Waitaki Valley, Danseys Pass, Hakataramea Valley and Tekapo areas.
Exercise Southern Reaper (AW-11-1107-1).
It is designed to give essential training to Army and Air Force personnel in preparation for deployment overseas. Lead by Burnham-based 2/1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/1 RNZIR) the exercise has been designed to develop the skills personnel need to operate within an urban environment, and provides experience in operating among the population of a real town.
The Commanding Officer of 2/1 RNZIR, Lieutenant Colonel Stef Michie says exercise participants are training in a contemporary operating environment, using both blank and live ammunition in the combat scenarios. No live ammunition is being used in urban areas.
"This environment requires them to face the complexities of conducting a wide range of tasks from close combat to stability and security operations, to working in a dangerous scenario, including under the threat of improvised explosive devices, while interacting with a local population still going about its daily business," he says.
Beyond its primary objective, Southern Reaper also provides an opportunity to conduct several other important activities, including allowing the current High Readiness capability from 2/1 RNZIR to be exercised. For force elements preparing for pre- deployment training and operations in early 2012, the exercise will enhance their skills in key areas such as vehicle based operations and counter improvised explosive device work.
Exercise Open Days for the public will be held on 12 November at Waimate Seddon Square and Oamaru Marist Rugby Football Club from 9am to 12 noon. Entry will be by gold coin donation with all proceeds going to the Waimate Historical Society and the Oamaru Sea Cadets.