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Final Week at Burnham for Solomons Soldiers

New Zealand Defence Force

Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

Tuesday, November 7, 2006.

Final Week at Burnham for Solomons Soldiers

New Zealand Army soldiers deploying to the Solomon Islands later this month will be available for interviews on Thursday when Burnham Military Camp, near Christchurch, opens its doors to the media.

The 45-strong contingent, which includes 33 territorial force members, is undergoing an intensive training course before their November 27 deployment to help in the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

They will be released from their training duties for the duration of the media visit to allow them to answer questions on the Solomon Island’s mission.

The personnel selected for the deployment have been chosen based on their experience and ability to commit to a four-month deployment and the pre-deployment training period.

Five of the chosen territorial soldiers have served on previous overseas deployments, 12 have served over five years in the Territorial Force and five have served for over 10 years. A further five have previously served in the Regular Force.

The Chief of Army, Major General Lou Gardiner is confident the team currently preparing for deployment will do well.

“This kind of deployment is ideal for the Territorial Force to take a major role in. The mission in the Solomon Islands requires strong infantry skills and an ability to get on well with the local people. Territorial Force soldiers have the best of both worlds, robust infantry training and good everyday people skills from their civilian lives.”

ENDS

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