Path To Peacekeeping

Department of Defence

In 1999, the United Nations responded to a humanitarian and security crisis in East Timor. The International Force East Timor, led by Australia, assisted the country to restore independence and establish itself as the democracy it is today.

Now 25 years on, the Timor-Leste Defence Force (Portuguese acronym F-FDTL) is preparing to be the next generation of peacekeepers across the world.

In partnership with Australian Army soldiers from the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, soldiers from the F-FDTL are working towards UN Peacekeeping accreditation, and ultimately deployments as part of international peacekeeping operations.

Deployed as part of the Mobile Training Team Alpha under the Defence Cooperation Program, Australian Army’s 1st Brigade soldiers are providing critical specialist training in areas such as weapon handling, marksmanship principles, navigation and first aid.

Contingent Commander Major Jarrod Johnson emphasised that the value of this training went deeper than simple joint training opportunities.

These sentiments were emphasised by Lieutenant Marcelo, the second-in-command of Timor-Leste’s Peacekeeping Operations Training Centre.

“The relationship between our two nations is very important, not only because we are geographically close nations, but because, like a family, we have to support each other,” he said.

Corporal Joshua Stimpson, a section commander at the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, said he was honoured to be a part of Australia’s contribution to Timor-Leste and has learnt a lot in the process.

“The most rewarding aspect of the trip would be seeing the improvement among not only the Timor-Leste Defence Force soldiers, but also from our own soldiers as we further develop our military skills and practise our language skills,” Corporal Stimpson said.

As the first of many training teams for 2024, the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment will hand over to the 5th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, to continue the valuable training and relationship building with Timor-Leste.

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