The Charters Towers community has played a vital role in 'Exercise Brolga Run', helping the Australian Army and New Zealand Defence Force test their skills in an urban environment.
The North Queensland community played 'host nation' to over 200 vehicles and 1000 soldiers conducting a range of military training activities including evacuation, patrolling, reconnaissance, check points, medical support, key leadership engagement and population control.
Battle Group Commander Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Johnson said the ability to conduct the exercise within the town provided his soldiers with a valuable, realistic and complex training environment.
"It's been fantastic to work with the local community, it adds that realism for our soldiers that we just don't get in our training areas," Lt Col Johnson said.
Operating as they would on an international or domestic deployment, the battle group worked closely with members of the Queensland Police Service and focused on key leadership engagement with Mayor Frank Beveridge.
"There was really good integration with the council and Queensland Police, learning from one another and focusing heavily on how we link with the other elements of government."
Concluding the exercise's urban phase, the Battle Group put on a military display for the local community that turned up in droves to chat with soldiers and check out their armoured vehicles and equipment.
"Charters Towers opened their arms to us, so conducting a community afternoon was the icing on the cake. It was an opportunity to say thanks to those who have supported us over the last few days," Lt Col Johnson said.
Cr Beveridge said the exercise was a highlight for the local community and something the town would love to be a part of in the future.
"This is something completely unique and the town has really embraced it," he said.
"With a strong history during the world wars, we see ourselves as connected to the army, so we welcome this exercise and I've heard nothing but positive comments right across the community.
"We appreciate the army taking time out of the exercise to be accessible for questions and photos, it has been fantastic and it's a real treat for the community of Charters Towers."
Cr Beveridge said after playing a key leadership role within the scenario he could see future partnership opportunities with the Australian Army.
"It was wonderful, it gives you a whole new perspective, looking at the town's infrastructure, looking at the essential communications areas and where the army would play a role there," Cr Beveridge said.
"I've certainly learnt a lot, it can only get better from here and I hope to see the army back here sometime in the near future."
Commander of the 3rd Brigade, Brigadier Kahlil Fegan thanked the community for their contribution to the exercise.
"It is such a rare and valuable opportunity for our soldiers to train and test our skills in a real world community," Brigadier Fegan said.
"The residents of Charters Towers have simply been outstanding and their support absolutely appreciated. I'm sure many of my soldiers will be returning to visit."
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