Ready for the fight

Townsville Bulletin - - News - by Ryan Mathe­son ryan. mathe­son@ townsville­bul­letin. com. au

T O W N S V I L L E ’ S H i g h Range was trans­formed into a war zone yes­ter­day as lo­cal troops put their skills to the test ahead of de­ploy­ment to one of the most v o l a t i l e r e g i o ns i n t he world.

A task force led by 2RAR, com­pris­ing t r oops f r om Townsville’s 3rd Brigade a l o n g wi t h u n i t s f r o m across Aus­tralia, is prepari n g f o r d e p l o y me n t t o Afghanistan this year as part of Men­tor­ing Task Force Three ( MTF-3).

More than 700 sol­diers will t a k e p a r t i n E x e r c i s e Afghan Black over the next month, in­volv­ing a rig­or­ous train­ing pro­gram de­signed to repli­cate con­di­tions in Afghanistan.

The con­tin­gent of troops yes­ter­day trained un­der sim­u­lated battle-field con­di­tions us­ing live ammu- ni­tion to help ease the tran­si­tion when they head off.

MTF-3 are set to pro­vide on­go­ing men­tor­ing and sup­port to the Afghan Na­tional Army’s 4th Brigade in the Uruz­gan Prov­ince.

C o m m a n d i n g O f f i c e r 2RAR and MTF-3 Lieu­tenant Colonel Chris Smith said the de­ploy­ment in­volved an in­creased em­pha­sis on men­tor­ing Afghan Com­man­ders.

‘‘ This pro­vides an op­por­tu­nity for the guys to gain con­fi­dence in each other and in the team,’’ he said.

‘‘ The ex­er­cise is all about bring­ing t ogether s mall teams such as en­gi­neers, in­fantry and the ar­moured ve­hi­cles and their crews, so they are ready to work to­gether to men­tor Afghan Com­man­ders.’’

Lt-Col Smith s ai d t he troops were jump­ing at the chance to get in­volved.

To­mor­row

FORCE: Ben Braith­waite and Tim Coul­ter pre­pare for de­ploy­ment

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