Se­cu­rity mis­sion com­plete

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS -

Pri­vate Jurie Bender, a for­mer Tawa Col­lege stu­dent, has re­turned to New Zealand af­ter com­plet­ing a six-month de­ploy­ment to Ti­mor-Leste, sup­port­ing the Aus­tralian-led In­ter­na­tional Sta­bil­i­sa­tion Force (ISF).

The con­tin­gent, from 2nd/1st Bat­tal­ion Royal New Zealand In­fantry Reg­i­ment and sup­port­ing units, was the last De­fence Force ro­ta­tion to serve with the force.

Pri­vate Bender, who has been in the NZ Army for more than five years, says he was kept pretty busy on de­ploy­ment.

‘‘We did some good train­ing and cour­ses. Prac­tis­ing out on the range was the best.’’

It was the 24 year old’s sec­ond de­ploy­ment to Ti­mor-Leste.

‘‘ I was here in 2007- 08 and there was more stuff hap­pen­ing, we were do­ing lots of pa­trols on the streets as there was still some vi­o­lence. Now it’s dif­fer­ent, it’s all died down which is a good thing. The city is a lot cleaner, there’s even a mall here in Dili.’’

On get­ting home to New Zea- land, Pri­vate Bender says he was most look­ing for­ward to catch­ing up with friends and fam­ily, but he wasn’t look­ing for­ward to the cold.

‘‘It barely rained the en­tire time in Dili.’’

A small the­atre ex­trac­tion team re­placed the re­turn­ing con­tin­gent, and it will work with the Aus­tralians to close down the bases and re­turn mil­i­tary equip­ment over the next cou­ple of months.

The se­cu­rity en­vi­ron­ment in Ti­mor-Leste has re­mained calm and sta­ble since the suc­cess­ful elec­tions ear­lier this year, and the force has com­pleted its se­cu­rity man­date so the Ki­wis and Aussies are com­ing home.

The lower op­er­a­tional tempo of the de­ploy­ment al­lowed the con­tin­gent to fo­cus on train­ing, on top of pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity to force bases and main­tain­ing a Pro­tected Mo­bil­ity Ve­hi­cle Troop on standby to de­ploy a quick re­ac­tion force. Most of the con­tin­gent also had an op­por­tu­nity to visit Cova Lima, where De­fence Force per­son­nel were de­ployed back in 1999-2002, and where Pri­vate Leonard Man­ning was killed – New Zealand’s first com­bat ca­su­alty since Viet­nam.

Thirsty work: Pri­vate Jurie Bender mak­ing friends while on de­ploy­ment to Ti­mor-Leste.

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