SUVA, U.S. Embassy in Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga, and Tuvalu -- The Nevada National Guard (NVNG) State Partnership Program (SPP) started training the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) on recently donated Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) equipment from the Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI). On August 15, 2022, the donation, worth approximately FJ$1 million (US$527,000), includes up-to-date equipment for the RFMF to train on and use while on United Nations deployments.
Acting Deputy Chief of Mission Rebeca Owen explained, “This donation is part of our ongoing partnership with the Fijian Military and supports our commitment to supporting the independence and security of Pacific nations.”
NVNG EOD techs Sergeant First Class Frederick Fries and Sergeant Jacob Rooney spent five days familiarizing 11 RFMF soldiers from the Engineers and Third Battalion Fiji Infantry Regiment (3FIR), and two Republic of Fiji Navy EOD techs with the new equipment, including bomb suits, different types of metal detectors, disruptors, handheld entry kits, blasting machines, and other useful engineer capability kits. The RFMF will then continue to train others in the Engineer/Infantry Battalions on the recently acquired equipment. The NVNG SPP EOD team plans to return in January, to learn from their Fijian counterparts how to use the detectors, blasters, and other equipment here in Fiji.
Sergeant First Class Fries said “This is what a shared partnership is all about, we are both teaching and learning from one another. We may know how to use all the equipment and help them develop those capabilities, but Fiji’s geography and culture are still very new and unfamiliar to us. They can definitely teach us a thing or two (coming from the desert).”
These donations are part of the broader U.S.-Fiji security cooperation that promotes regional peace and stability and includes previous donations of vehicles and equipment in May, also through GPOI.