With world-class training environments and aviation assets on their doorstep, the soldiers of Townsville are prepared to deploy into any environment at a moment’s notice.

On a clear July afternoon, three Army Aviation MRH-90s touched down on Lavarack Barracks, collecting a platoon of infantry soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, Bravo Company to conduct an air movement operation into the jungle of Tully on Exercise Kalimantan.

Weapons, packs and rations in tow, the soldiers boarded swiftly and prepared to enter the dense jungle to begin offensive operations, urban clearances and jungle survival training.

For Private Jake Rasmussen, who has recently marched into the unit, it was an impressive activity to be part of so early in his career.

“It was my first experience conducting an air mobile operation and it was eye-opening how quickly the MRH-90 could collect and infill our team into a location like the Tully jungle,” Private Rasmussen said.

“Learning how to work among 5th Aviation Regiment was great and training with them allows us to increase our synergy for possible future operations.”

He said training in the Tully jungle was a new experience.

“It was unbelievably dense and very demanding. The best part of Exercise Kalimantan was learning how to transition from a jungle patrol into an urban clearance because it was highly complex and methodical.”

Australian Army MRH-90s from the 5th Aviation Regiment fly in formation deploying soldiers from the 3rd Brigade to Jungle Training Wing, Tully.

For many of the soldiers, the activity was part of a training program to prepare for the next rotation of Joint Army Training Team – Philippines (JATT-P) from August to November this year.

Lieutenant Lachlan Fletcher said the exercise “gave our soldiers and non-commissioned officers (NCOs) a greater understanding of the complexities and challenges of the jungle and how it affects planning and decision making within that terrain.”

“This will improve the quality of their training delivered on JATT-P,” he said.

Happy with the section’s performance and enthusiasm, Lieutenant Fletcher said the soldiers grew in experience and confidence as they conducted jungle-to-urban clearances, counter-ambush drills and survival training. 

“Overall, the soldiers adapted quickly to the environment and embraced the challenges of jungle operations,” he said.

“It was exciting to see junior soldiers as well as experienced NCOs providing feedback to one another on how they could improve their tactics within a jungle environment.”

With aviation assets close by and a diverse training environment on their doorstep, Lieutenant Fletcher said the soldiers were always keen to make the most of their geographic advantage and spend more time training than in transit.

“Integrating with MRH-90s from 5th Aviation Regiment provides an exciting spin on regular jungle operations, and it was an excellent first hit-out for some of our soldiers new to the unit.”

Soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, disembark an MRH-90 from the 5th Aviation Regiment, at Jungle Training Wing, Tully.