NATION

Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the United States Armed Forces Forge New Defence Ties

The exercise, which is a series of bilateral military-to-military training programmes, was officially opened at the Sukanaivalu VC Barracks in Labasa yesterday.
30 Jul 2019 16:43
Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the United States Armed Forces Forge New Defence Ties
The RFMF and US Armed Forces soldiers at the Sukanaivalu VC Barracks in Labasa on July 29, 2019. Photo: Shalveen Chand

The Republic of Fiji Military Forces and the United States Armed Forces are forging a new relationship with the start of Exercise Cartwheel in Vanua Levu.

The exercise, which is a series of bilateral military-to-military training programmes, was officially opened at the Sukanaivalu VC Barracks in Labasa yesterday.

Speaking at the start of the exercise, the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Defence and National Security, Manasa Lesuma, said this exercise would lay the platform for the two forces to share and learn from each other.

“Although Fiji is a geographically isolated maritime nation, we are not immune to the security challenges which threaten stability in bigger continents because we are also vulnerable to traditional and non-traditional security threats,” he said.

“I firmly believe that Exercise Cartwheel will pave the way in our quest to have a secure Fiji for all, just as Operation Cartwheel did to the region during World War II.

“The various security issues occurring in our region requires joint and co-ordinated efforts to subdue and joint exercises such as Exercise Cartwheel will lay the appropriate platforms.”

Mr Lesuma said the joint exercise was unique because it combined forces from two extremes.

Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Combat Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, arrived at Nadi International Airport last Saturday for the exercise.

The U.S soldiers will partner troops from the Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment (3FIR) for the exercise.

Brigadier General William Burk said the US Army was here to build readiness with the Fijian partners, to strengthen that relationship through training and to become interoperable in case an emergency should happen.

The US Army would also carry out various community related projects in Labasa and Savusavu during Exercise Cartwheel, which ends on August 12.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedbackshalveen.chand@fijisun.com.fj



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