PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — A logistics team from the 5th Security Force Assistance Brigade based at Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington, traveled to Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea in May to conduct a month-long partnership with the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.
The 5th SFAB logistics team partnering in Papua New Guinea is part of its 6th Battalion and forms the unit’s Battalion Advisor Team, also known as BAT 560.
“PNGDF leadership invited us here to learn how PNGDF conducts logistics, to learn what works for PNGDF, and to develop plans for future partnering,” Lt. Col. Jeremiah O’Connor, Commander, 6th Battalion, 5th SFAB said.
BAT 560 is working closely with PNGDF logistics leaders throughout the force including the PNGDF logistics division, their Force Support Battalion, the 1st Royal Pacific Islands Regiment, engineer forces, and the Goldie River Training Depot.
While this partnership increases the US Army’s understanding of how PNGDF logistics function, the most important benefits are the personal relationships developed between the military professionals of the two nations.
“You came at the right time," Col. Albert Palauva, a Defense Advisor for PNGDF said. "The training comes at a time when the PNGDF seeks to reorganize its senior staff structure, modernize logistics, and provide the most value to the people of PNG.”
One of the key leaders on the ground for BAT 560 is Master Sgt. Maria Boring. Boring has served in the U.S. Army during a time of great change where women have the opportunity to serve in every possible position including those previously available only to men.
Boring is serving as the team’s senior enlisted advisor and is an exceptional model of female leadership for the women serving in the PNGDF.
“It was a great opportunity to learn about the men and women serving throughout the force. I experienced their culture, different leadership styles and personal memories,” Boring said. “We built a relationship with the first four female Soldiers who joined the PNDGF in 2008. They welcomed us with no hesitation and especially made me feel like a part of their team.”
The personnel serving within the 5th SFAB are mature and senior in their positions, specially selected and trained to work with U.S. partners and allies in peacetime, crisis, and conflict.
“I trust any member of this team to engage with leaders of foreign militaries on behalf of 5th SFAB and the U.S. Army,” O’Connor said.
Master Sgt. Boring agreed.
“The team has unique qualities and several years of experience in combat and peace time logistics operations,” Boring said. “Our diverse cultures, personalities and training will ensure our partnership is impactful for many years to come.”
The team’s overall mission in Papua New Guinea focuses on strengthening the long-standing relationship between the U.S. and PNGDF while sharing lessons learned and best practices for medical and logistical support to military operations.
In a region faced with many dangers including natural disasters and climate change, the units are building a mutually beneficial and collaborative relationship that will last long into the future.