SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii — U.S. Army Soldiers from 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 25th Division Artillery, 25th Infantry Division, joined forces with New Zealand Defence Force gunners of 163 Battery, 16th Field Regiment, Royal Regiment of New Zealand Artillery for the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center rotation 24-01. The exercise included multiple comprehensive sling load training exercises which showcased the seamless interoperability between the partner nations.
Sling Load Mastery on Display
The joint training, conducted on the island of Oahu in vicinity of Schofield Barracks, highlighted the precision and specialization achieved through shared practices. U.S. and New Zealand Defence Force Soldiers engaged in sling load training, demonstrating their ability to rapidly move howitzers in the arduous jungle environment and hastily emplacing to provide timely and accurate fires. This critical skill set not only enhances the readiness of both forces but also solidifies their capacity to seamlessly integrate in multinational operations.
Maj. Damien Jaques, the commander of the NZDF’s 163rd Battery, was present throughout the training providing robust command and control to his gunners as they navigated their differences and similarities between them and the U.S. Soldiers.
“U.S. and NZDF Gunners are the same breed, slightly different in the way we speak and conduct our drills but remarkably similar in our laser focus on the provision of fires. The fog of war and chaos are an expectation on the battlefield; what is important is to train hard in peacetime to work through friction points forging interoperability, trust and respect,” said Jaques, stressing the importance of the collaboration between the forces.
JPMRC 24-01: A Multinational Endeavor
The sling load training between 3-7 Field Artillery Regiment and the NZDF 163rd Battery was one of many that took place at the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center's 24-01 exercise. The exercise serves as a testament to the commitment of over 5,300 participants from the U.S. joint force, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Indonesia, and Thailand. Amidst diverse backgrounds and operational environments, the participants are united in their dedication to enhancing the collective readiness across the U.S. Army Indo-Pacific Command area of operation.
U.S. Army Capt. Joseph R. Chiarella, liaison officer to the New Zealanders, and was thoroughly impressed by their integration into the exercise, saying, “Working with the New Zealander Defence Force and Maj. Jaques was an incredibly productive experience. Their professionalism was evident on day one and they showed up ready to make things work. I was impressed by their proficiency and the seamless integration of their gunners into our formation made me excited for what’s to come with our units working together in the future”.
Fires Support Dynamics in Focus
During JPMRC 24-01, the 163rd NZDF Battery was operationally controlled to 3rd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, offering vital fire support in tandem with their 3-7 Field Artillery counterparts. This collaborative endeavor highlights the capacity of diverse nations to harmonize their firepower and tactics, overcoming distinctions to accomplish shared objectives.
JPMRC: Shaping the Future of Multinational Cooperation
As the Army's newest Combat Training Center, JPMRC stands as a beacon of excellence in preparing forces for the challenges of contemporary warfare. The collaborative spirit displayed by the U.S. and New Zealand forces exemplifies the power of interoperability. The sheer importance of these efforts was not lost on Maj. Jaques, saying, “JPMRC and the opportunity to work closely with 3-7 Field Artillery and DIVARTY is the first step towards our enhanced interoperability together. Within a short timeframe, it proved our collective ability to adapt, learn and rapidly integrate within a complex and dynamic training environment”.
Despite varying backgrounds and methodologies, these military units showcased that when nations work together, they create a force greater than the sum of its parts — a force ready to fight and win in the event of conflict.