NZ joins Pacific allies in US-led military exercise

Fifty-five combat soldiers from the 1st (NZ) Brigade in Linton and Burnham took part in the exercise to increase capabilities in both urban and jungle environments.

US Army Pacific

Fifty-five combat soldiers from the 1st (NZ) Brigade in Linton and Burnham took part in the exercise to increase capabilities in both urban and jungle environments.

The New Zealand Defense Force completed a United States-led training exercise in Fiji involving soldiers from five countries.

Fifty-five soldiers from the 1st (NZ) Brigade in Linton and Burnham participated in Exercise Cartwheel to increase capabilities in both urban and jungle environments, the NZDF said.

The tactical field exercise involved more than 100 soldiers from New Zealand, Australia, Fiji, Great Britain and the US Army Pacific (USARPAC).

“The training also included machine gun demonstrations with sustained fire, section attacks and ambushes, responding to enemy indirect firing and ethical decision-making scenarios,” the NZDF said in a statement.

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The mortar demonstrations were conducted in the Nausori Highlands, 214 kilometers from the Fiji capital Suva.

The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) also conducted reconnaissance operations, section and platoon port exercises, survival and tracking training.

Multinational ships are moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hickam, in Hawaii during the June-August Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise.

US Navy

Multinational ships are moored at Joint Base Pearl Harbor, Hickam, in Hawaii during the June-August Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) military exercise.

Brigadier Hugh McAslan, New Zealand’s Land Component Commander, said Aotearoa has long-standing relationships with its Pacific military partnersand appreciates any opportunity to train with them.

“This exercise also provides our people with an opportunity to immerse themselves in Fiji culture, build strong professional and personal relationships with our military whānau in the Pacific, and train in an environment different from New Zealand’s. Zealand,” said McAslan.

“We take every opportunity to learn from each other. In addition, these skills and relationships, combined with professionalism, set the conditions for a bright future for our region.”

“The exercise brought together the same allies who fought in the Solomon Islands during World War II.”

New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and American soldiers during Cartwheel Exercise in Fiji.

US Army Pacific

New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and American soldiers during Cartwheel Exercise in Fiji.

US Navy Commander Victor Lange said the exercise’s name comes from: Operation Cartwheel during World War II, in which the Americans fought alongside the military from New Zealand, Australia and Fiji—then a British colony—to neutralize the Japanese base at Rabaul in Papua New Guinea.

The exercise has been speculated to be linked to China’s growing influence in the Pacific.

The US also led a military exercise, June to August in Hawaiiinvolving 26 countries, including New Zealand.

A spokesman for China’s foreign ministry, Wang Wenbin, told reporters in Beijing on Friday that China “has no objection to normal defense cooperation.”

“But the cooperation should not be aimed at third parties,” Wang said.

The US has pledged to step up its involvement in the Pacific after the Solomon Islands Signed Security Deal With China in March this gave rise to warnings of a militarization of the region.

Solomons Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare has denied that the agreement will lead to the creation of a Chinese naval base in the Pacific.

US Vice President Kamala Harris told a summit of Pacific leaders in Suva in July that the… US would open new embassies in Tonga and Kiribati.

Harris has also pledged NZ$86 million in fishing aid to the island nations.

The 11-day military exercise in Fiji ended Friday.

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