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5/7 polish urban soldiering skills

Security and stability operations (SASO) training has been at the forefront for Wellington Company, 5/7 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) recently.

16 August, 2022

The company has focused on intensive urban soldiering skills, culminating in Exercise Thorndon in early July.

“The exercise provided a good challenge for the soldiers and enabled them to practise their TTPs (tactics, techniques and procedures) they’ve been focusing on with the SASO training,” said 3 Platoon sergeant, Sergeant Rick Henderson.

“We have seen a marked improvement in soldiers’ urban skills from the start of our urban block training in May through to Exercise Thorndon. Some of that, in no small part, is due to a section of seven soldiers recently training alongside Victor Company at Exercise Venom 3,” he said.

The soldiers trained alongside Victor Company, 1RNZIR, during the exercise, giving them an opportunity to learn and hone their skills. Second Lieutenant Sione Tukia, one of the platoon commanders in Victor Company, said that from the outset of the exercise he ensured there was no isolation between the Reserve Force and Regular Force.

“I ensured both understood that my intent for the platoon was performance, teamwork, communication and a positive attitude. This was met by both,” he said.

He commented that although the Reserve Force soldiers had limited experience they understood this and took full advantage of the opportunity of the Regular Force’s knowledge and experience.

“The Reserve Force soldiers bombarded them with questions and worked really hard to meet the standard, which they achieved,” said Second Lieutenant Tukia.

“The Reserve Force soldiers also brought a different way of thinking when given tasks too,” he said.

“Reserve Force knowledge and experience outside the wire gave my soldiers opportunities to ask questions about their lives outside of the Army. Taking into consideration most soldiers have only experienced NZ Army life since leaving high school, this was a good way to build a connection with people outside of the Regular Force,” he said.


Soldiers from 5/7 Battalion, 1RNZIR conduct clearances during Exercise Thorndon

Staff Sergeant Pio Ailao, Wellington Company cadre non-commissioned officer, said having the soldiers train alongside their Regular Force counterparts opens up future opportunities for Regular Force soldiers to be called back in a support role if required.

“The benefit to our Regular Force is they can call on our unit knowing we have soldiers trained to an acceptable skill level and who can be easily integrated within their unit,” says Staff Sergeant Ailao.

He said that the Reserve Force would mainly be utilised to conduct inner and outer cordons within both the international and domestic environments, with Victor Company conducting the search operations within the cordoned areas.