1 August 2016
As a child, Private (PTE) Zane Larkin of Feilding always wanted to join the Army. But his childhood self might have imagined being in the bush or the desert, not at sea amongst a swarm of ships and submarines.
The 19-year-old infantry soldier is at Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC), the world’s largest maritime warfare exercise. He is one of more than 25,000 Defence personnel from 26 nations who are in Hawaii until 4 August.
“It has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he says. “I’ve really enjoyed all the facilities and assets that we have been able to use.”
On the exercise PTE Larkin is the lead scout of 1 Section, 1 Platoon, Victor Company, 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment. The regiment forms the core of Australia’s Amphibious Force’s Landing Force, which comprises 348 soldiers from the Australian Army, 35 from the Tongan Defence Service, and 42 − including PTE Larkin − from the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
The landing force is based on HMAS Canberra, Australia’s 27,000-tonne amphibious assault ship. The recently commissioned ship can deliver about 1000 troops to shore by sea and aircraft.
As a scout, PTE Larkin is part of the "eyes and ears" of the Army. Scouts gather reconnaissance information on the enemy, the combat circumstances and environmental conditions. They help with navigation, and with securing and transporting ammunition.
PTE Larkin says that he is looking forward to the “free play” phase, which will test the skills developed during the first four weeks of training. Component commanders and their units will respond to increasingly intense, realistic scenarios. The soldiers will experience challenging full-spectrum operations that cover air, surface, submarine and land threats.
“This is where all our training is tested,” says Private Larkin. “It sounds like it is going to be really impressive, having the combined arms working together.”
RIMPAC helps participants foster and sustain the co-operative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans.
This is PTE Larkin’s second deployment to the United States. Last year he went to Exercise Dawn Blitz in San Diego, which involved training in amphibious landings and urban assaults.
He joined the Army in July 2014, after leaving Feilding High School.
“It was my childhood ambition to join the Army; it is something I have always wanted to do. I didn’t want to be stuck behind a desk, I wanted to stay active.”
His career is certainly fulfilling his brief. He is based at Linton Military Camp, where his days involve physical training, weapons training, tactical equipment training and familiarisation, and tactics. In his spare time, he enjoys sport (especially basketball), playing the drums and spending time with his family and friends.
For further information please contact Defence Public Affairs: 021 487 980