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Diamond in the Rough

More than 1200 members from the Australian Army’s 7th Brigade converged on Central Queensland for Exercise Diamond Sprint at Shoalwater Bay Training Area in May.

Diamond Sprint was a combined units training activity and 7th Brigade’s largest formation-level exercise of the year. It culminated in infantry conducting assaults with artillery, tanks, engineers, logistics and communication elements in support.

Lieutenant Colonel Steve Dickie, the commanding officer of 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, said the exercise ensured troops were brilliant at the basics, experts in their individual craft and skilled in supporting the team in a combined-arms environment. 

“Over the series of two weeks, the battalion will progress from section live fire by day, section live fire by night, a platoon live fire incorporating engineer breach and culminating in combat team live-fire activities involving armoured assets, artillery assets and then engineer assets,” Lieutenant Colonel Dickie said.

“The end state for the 8th/9th Battalion, as part of Exercise Diamond Sprint, is to certify, in particular, Charlie Company to be ready as part of the Ready Battlegroup for the remainder of 2019.”

Chaplain Lionel Orreal, the battalion’s padre, said the soldiers of 7th Brigade had an excellent attitude throughout the exercise. 

“It started off a bit slow as the concept of training is crawl, walk, run,” Chaplain Orreal said.

“But they are now into the running stage where they shoot live rounds on open ranges and they are absolutely loving it. This is exactly why they join the Army.

Chaplain Orreal said that being out in the field with the soldiers gave him opportunity he would not have elsewhere to provide pastoral care.

“This has been a great opportunity for me as a padre,” Chaplain Orreal said. 

“The commanding officer has been very keen to ensure that the presence is there and that is when the soldiers actually open up, when they are applying their craft. 

The exercise was the final opportunity for 7th Brigade units to train together before it plays the enemy force against Darwin’s 1st Brigade in Exercise Talisman Sabre in July. 

Exercise Diamond Sprint was held at the same time as two major international engagement activities: Exercise Southern Jackaroo and Exercise Carabaroo, involving the United States Marine Corps, Armed Forces of the Philippines and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.

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