Soldiers back to basics for Exercise Maleme

Private James McEwan, of Dunedin's Bravo Company 2/4 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, crosses...
Private James McEwan, of Dunedin's Bravo Company 2/4 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment, crosses the Waitati River while taking part in the route march stage of a two-day training exercise held by the NZ Army unit at Waitati at the weekend. PHOTO: JOHN COSGROVE
Thirty-one soldiers from Bravo Company (Dunedin) 2/4 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) went back to basics at Waitati over the weekend.

The officer commanding Bravo Company, Major Duncan McEwan, of Dunedin, said the two-day training exercise Maleme involved soldiers practising various core soldiering skills.

"It was a return to the basics for these soldiers, as we are currently focusing on their fundamental skills at an individual level.

"We are working on individual and pairs skills as it serves to provide us with a good base for the build-up to a close country live firing field exercise we are conducting in October."

Maj McEwan said the training included movement in close country as both an individual and in pairs, fundamentals around camouflage and medical training, blank firing in both individual and pairs close country assaults, and observation training.

The soldiers from Dunedin, Invercargill and Cromwell finished the exercise off with a route march up Waitati Valley Rd to Pigeon Flat, loaded down with all their kit.

Private Georgina Keenan, currently studying for a masters in psychology at the University of Otago, said it was a good weekend despite the rain and cold.

"It was cool being out in the bush - we learned how to assault in pairs and we learned how to post grenades, which was fun because we don't get to do that often."

The next event for the company will be a one-day top soldier competition at Tapanui on September 7.

"Tapanui is the centre of all three of my units [Dunedin, Invercargill and Cromwell] and it should be a good day out for the soldiers to show off their individual soldiering skills," Maj McEwan said.

He said it was part of a year-long top soldier award for all soldiers in the unit.

 - John Cosgrove

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