WHANGAMONONA, New Zealand –
The New Zealand Defence Force, Royal New Zealand Air Force and U.S. Army combined efforts during the main assault of Exercise Kiwi Koru Nov. 14.
Kiwi Koru is a bilateral exercise between U.S. and New Zealand militaries on the North Island of New Zealand designed to enhance defense relations through conducting multinational training and advancing interoperability between both forces.
The multinational force was tested in counter improvised explosive device techniques, combat lifesaving skills, over watch and detaining procedures during the force-on-force scenario.
Exercise Kiwi Koru is designed to provide soldiers with a realistic training experience said New Zealand Armored Core Warrant Officer 2 Hone Dalton, Queen Alexander's Mounted Rifles senior weapons instructor and Exercise Kiwi Koru exercise controller.
"The exercise is based on a free play exercise, or a box exercise, which means that anything that happens within the box is played out for real in real time as it would be on operations," Dalton said. "I use my experience to look at the situation and decide the outcome. I think that the key thing that they've got out of this is collective cohesion. Whether or not they've achieved that at various levels they've all experienced an element of it. So the collective aspect of the exercise is the most important part of the training they're retaining."
The integration of U.S. forces during the exercise has benefited both military forces said U.S. Army Maj. Anthony Forshier, 1st Battalion, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division executive officer of battle organization and Kiwi Koru army force commander.
"The biggest thing we're getting out of this is a partnership with the New Zealand Army," Forshier said. "We are learning some tactical and procedural things from the New Zealand Army but they are also learning some things from us."
The lessons learned during the exercise are intended to increase readiness for both forces.
"Speaking with some of their leadership, some of the things they are still trying to ingrain into their operational process is the after action review process," Forshier said. "What we intend to do at the end is do an after action review to show things that we think they can do a little bit differently, improve on some of the successes they have already had and also to solicit feedback from them as well."
Working with the New Zealand Defence Force and operating alongside them gives U.S. Army soldiers a unique opportunity said U.S. Army 1st Lt. Bryan Silva, Alpha Company, 1st Platoon, 14th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division platoon leader.
"The biggest lesson we can pick up from Kiwi Koru is working with another nation," Silva said. "There are a lot of young soldiers out here that haven't had an opportunity to work with someone outside of the U.S. Army. You need to expect, when you go to another country that there might be a scenario like this."
At the end of the final scenario the targeted area was cleared and simulated opposing forces were detained or eliminated.
"I think soldiering is such a serious business, that if you don't look at how other armies operate then you're probably not soldiering properly so you have to be able to experience that and make up your mind what tactics you employ," Dalton said. "Working with the Americans soldiers and airmen gives us a wider picture of what our people are doing."
Exercise Kiwi Koru demonstrates the commitment of both the United States and New Zealand to regional partnership, prosperity and security in the Asia-Pacific region.
The exercise is a preparation event in support of Southern Katipo, an alternate exercise occurring in odd years. The exercise is also designed to enhance defense relations with New Zealand through conducting multinational training and advancing interoperability between New Zealand and U.S. forces.
This year marks the 72nd anniversary of the arrival of U.S. forces to assist with the defense of New Zealand, during World War II.