Thursday, October 2, 2008

A Kiwi assault

-- By Spc. Matthew A. Thompson

HOHENFELS, Germany—The vehicles pulled quickly into the area. Dirt and mud flew in all directions as tires spun. Just as quickly they came to a stop, Soldiers poured out of the vehicles. Weapons were held at the ready and aimed at the windows and doors where the enemy shot.

Racing to get to cover, the Soldiers returned fire and forced the enemy to duck or die.

Soldiers with 5th Platoon Bravo Company, 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment assaulted a mock Afghan village during training at the Joint Multinational Readiness Center, near Hohenfels, Germany, Sept. 18.

During the situational training lanes, the Kiwis acted as a quick reaction force that had to respond to reports of enemy forces in the area. Their job was to enter and clear buildings, capture or kill the enemy and search them for information.

“It is good learning. Our first time out we had a few points (to improve), by the second time we rectified them,” said 2nd Lt. Alphe Kennedy, a 19-year-old platoon commander with 5th platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd/1st Royal New Zealand Regiment.

U.S. Army Soldiers serving as observer controllers watched over the New Zealand Soldiers as they performed the training in the village. After they finished, the O/Cs evaluated the Kiwis on their performance.

“They have their way of doing things and their experiences,” Kennedy said. “We can take it and add it to the tool box.”

Other New Zealand Soldiers found the training to be a little difficult because it was different. Pvt. Jacque Wirihanae Hore, a rifleman with 5th platoon said, working side by side with the Americans helped the New Zealanders learn new skills.

The New Zealand Soldiers are here as part of the American, British, Canadian Australian and New Zealand’s Armies program interoperability test.

ABCA’s test may not be the only time some of these countries and Soldiers work together. New Zealand has worked alongside the Australian Army in East Timor and the Solomon Islands. There is also a Provincial Reconstruction team deployed to Afghanistan.

“With the way the world is going, it looks like we’ll be working together a long time,” Kennedy said.

No matter where they deploy or train the New Zealand Army is motivated to get the job done.

“New Zealand’s here, doing it hard, doing it Kiwi style,” Kennedy said. “Kura Takahi Puni, we are ready!”

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