Despite numerous delays caused by the global pandemic and last year’s destructive cyclone season, Coral Warrior 21 officially commenced on October 19 at Queen Elizabeth Barracks in the Fijian capital Suva.
Eight ADF members from 1st Military Police Battalion, 11th Close Health Support Company, Army Headquarters, Forces Command Headquarters and the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit arrived in Nadi at the beginning of October for the bi-annual exercise.
Once the Australian contingent completed hotel quarantine and was cleared by Fijian Health Authorities, they moved to Suva where they were officially welcomed to the country and the exercise by Commander Land Force Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) Colonel Onisivoro Covunisaqa.
“I hope that the knowledge shared here can be reciprocated through your experience in the camaraderie and the culture of the students,” Colonel Covunisaqa said.
“And that’s the thing that I want you to take with you, a camaraderie and the culture and the hospitality that the Fijian soldiers offer.”
The Coral Warrior series includes a suite of training serials and exercises with Fiji including Coral Sapper and Coral Soldier, the latter which included 37 RFMF embedded with the Australian Army’s 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, and 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment in Brisbane in March.
Coral Warrior will involve Australian Army physical training instructors, military police and public affairs specialists partnering with their RFMF counterparts to train and enhance their respective capabilities.
Major Asaeli Toanikeve, the Land Force Chief of Staff for operations, planning and training was also on hand at the opening ceremony and addressed the gathered Fijian and Australian soldiers.
“It's good to see our Defence partners and other friendly forces in Fiji exchanging ideas, exchanging experiences, as well as building friendships and cooperation,” Major Toanikeve said.
The exercise runs until November 24.