RESERVE soldiers from across Perth will swap their university desks, office jobs and trades for jungle and urban warfare training in the second-only deployment of the army’s Karrakatta-based 16th Battalion to Malaysia and Singapore next month.
“I’m going for the training experience more than anything else, and it’s also about being a better trainer of the soldiers I will be mentoring to make better non-commissioned officers,” Corporal Zac Muscat (24), a Bentley economics and finance university student, said.
About 60 members of 16th Battalion will join about 60 reservists from Queensland’s 11th Battalion for urban warfare training in Singapore before jungle training at Butterworth, Malaysia.
The 120-strong company’s four-month deployment continues military links with the region that developed from the Malayan Emergency of the 1950s. The current part-time soldiers and officers may also develop professional relationships with Singaporean and Malaysian counterparts.
However, the soldiers will be away from their families for Christmas and New Year.
“My mum’s pretty stoked I’m going to get out there, and I’m doing something for the whole of summer, so she’s not fussed,” Private Dylan Bennett-Surtees (20), an Aubin Grove outdoor education university student, said.
Their commander, Lieutenant Paul Sanders (42), is a software developer outside of uniform and he observed pre-deployment assault training with his troops’ guns firing blanks, at the Karrakatta barracks last week. “As a platoon commander, what I’m looking for is to see good communication between them as they work as a team,” he said.
The dense jungles and humid training area streets will be unfamiliar environments to practise and adapt their close-quarter fighting skills.