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New Zealand troops deploy to South Pacific

8Tuesday June 8, 2004

New Zealand troops deploy to South Pacific on multinational evacuation exercise

After a period of multinational familiarisation and force integration, around 70 New Zealand sailors, soldiers, and airmen commenced Exercise Croix du Sud 2004 in New Caledonia. Croix du Sud, meaning Southern Cross, is the major biennial exercise for the French Armed Forces New Caledonia (FANC).

The exercise scenario consists of an evacuation from an island following a major natural disaster and subsequent political and military destabilisation.

There is significant participation in the Exercise from regional countries with contingents from New Zealand, Australia and Tonga deploying to New Caledonia to form a FANC-led multinational task force, known as the Pacific Island Coalition. New Zealand military members will participate in several areas covering land, and sea operations, as well as Staff appointments in the Combined Joint Headquarters.

Soldiers from 1 RNZIR (1st Battalion, Royal NZ Infantry Regiment), Linton will participate in evacuation and security operations on Lifou, one of New Caledonia's Loyalty Islands. HMNZS MANAWANUI, the RNZN dive support tender is providing offshore support to the operation and to the coalition forces throughout the exercise.

Defence Spokesman, Lieutenant Commander Andrew Lincoln, says the Exercise is providing an excellent opportunity to undertake realistic training in a multi-national environment. Exercise Croix du Sud will be completed on the 13th June 2004 and the NZDF contingent will return to New Zealand two days later.


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