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Timor Veterans Return

Tuesday 30 May, 2006

Timor Veterans Return

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As part of NZDF’s response to a request for military assistance PTE 'Kezz' Christianson (New Plymouth) mans the machine gun while his platoon establishes a temporary defensive position on the periphery of Dili.

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In a case of déjà vu for New Zealand soldiers, almost half of the NZDF troops deployed recently are experienced veterans who served in Timor-Leste during earlier military operations.

Of the 42 personnel based in Dili, 19 have deployed to (then) East Timor between 1999 and 2003 as part of six battalion rotations. In the 130-strong Company group, 22 have previously served in Timor-Leste.

Many of the soldiers have also been part of New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Teams in Afghanistan.

“The soldiers are trained in a wide range of theatre-specific skills, including vehicle patrols and checkpoints, non-combatant evacuation operations, search and processing of evacuees, and crowd and riot control,” said Warrant Officer Class One Michael O’Connor who helped prepare the company group prior to deployment.

Meanwhile, in Sydney a 14-member New Zealand Defence Force planning team is working alongside Australian counterparts to determine what tasks will be undertaken by New Zealanders, ensuring the contingent fits smoothly into the international coalition.

ENDS

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