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Officer Cadets To Graduate

Friday 28 November

Officer Cadets To Graduate


Twenty of the New Zealand Army's newest leaders have graduated from the Officer Cadet School (OCS) in a ceremony held today at Waiouru Military Camp. For the first time the graduation includes an Officer Cadet from Timor-Leste. There are 24 officers graduating in total. Four officer cadets from defence force partners including the Australian Defence Force, the Singapore Armed Forces as well as the F-FDTL (the Falintil-Forças de Defesa de Timor Leste or Timor Leste Defence Force) cadet.

The cadets have spent the last 11 months training, including around 100 days in the field on exercise and the rest of their time either in the lecture room or learning the essential military skills required of all members of the New Zealand Army. This year the cadets also conducted major exercises in Brunei and the south Waikato town of Mangakino.

Chief of Army Major General Lou Gardiner, who is the reviewing officer for the graduation, said the young leaders had committed themselves to serve New Zealand honourably and loyally in the proud traditions of the army.

"The New Zealand Army values its people, providing world-class education, training and leadership to provide skills for life. The young officers who graduate today show that success comes through discipline, training, teamwork and living our ethos and values. The future leadership of the Army is in good stead."

In January 2009 the graduates will move to their chosen corps within the New Zealand Army for ongoing training and could face deployment on overseas operations within a year of graduating.

ENDS

For further information please contact Bas Bolyn, Army Public Relations on 04 496 0285 or 021 478 574.

Graduating Officer Cadets come from locations and towns across New Zealand. Information and imagery of each of the graduates will be distributed to their respective local media Background notes:

OCS:

* Since its inception in 1985, OCS has graduated 1363 officers. The majority were commissioned into the New Zealand Army with the remainder being commissioned into the armies of 10 allied nations including Australia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines.

* Graduates from OCS command many of the major units of the NZ Army and have served in leadership roles on all recent operational missions.

NZDF relationship with Timor-Leste:

* 149 personnel recently deployed to Timor-Leste on the NZDF's 6th rotation to serve in the troubled region. Approximately 27 of the troops are Territorial Force personnel, with the remainder drawn largely from the Linton-based 16 Field Regiment.

* The total New Zealand Defence Force commitment to Timor-Leste at present is 156 personnel, including two Military Liaison Officers serving with the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste (UNMIT) and five Military Advisors attached to the Timorese Defence Force F-FDTL that provide mentoring and assistance.

* The NZDF are helping the F-FDTL build for the future through five advisors on the ground in Timor-Leste and together with Australia are investing in the future leadership of the military through schemes such as the mutual assistance partnership (MAP) and training through the Officer Cadet School.

* Young leaders such as OCDT graduating on Friday are critical to the future of F-FDTL (and Timor-Leste) as it transitions toward the goal of a professional military organisation.

* Currently 644 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 16 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world, in places such as Antarctica, Afghanistan, Timor- Leste, Solomon Islands, and Sudan. * 28 November is also the anniversary Timor-Leste's declaration of independence after the Portuguese departed and before Indonesia invaded in 1975.


ENDS

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