New Zealand troops who took part in Exercise Hamel disembark from an Australian Defence Force Chinook at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville at the close of the 25-day warfighting exercise.
3 August 2014
New Zealand soldiers who took part in an Australian-led warfighting exercise in Northern Queensland which ended on Friday went to great lengths to minimise their environmental impact.
All vehicles, equipment, vehicle loads and weapons were cleaned to a “surgical standard” before being transported back to New Zealand, according to Lance Corporal Hamish Summers, one of seven Movement Controllers from the Army’s 2nd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion who were deployed to support the 260 New Zealand troops taking part in Exercise Hamel.
“The clean-up ensures that no grass, dust, seeds, pests and other contaminants are brought back to New Zealand,” he explained. In previous exercises in Australia, New Zealand soldiers have found snakes coiling around the main axles of their trucks.
“Regulations enforced by the Ministry of Primary Industries aim to ensure that New Zealand remains free from harmful pests and diseases.”
HMNZS CANTERBURY transported around 20 vehicles, including Pinzgauers, Unimogs and engineers’ trucks, to Townsville for the exercise. The rest of the equipment used by the Army was ferried by Royal New Zealand Air Force C-130 Hercules aircraft.
New Zealand soldiers taking part in the exercise lived in the bush during the past three weeks and have also been cleaning their backpacks and other personal gear to ensure they do not bring any unwanted pests or organisms back home.
“Caring for the environment is every soldier’s responsibility, and we do this whether we are in New Zealand or overseas,” said LCPL Summers.
Exercise Hamel, which began on 7 July, is the Australian Army’s annual foundation warfighting exercise.