Observers absorb wartime lessons during exercise

This article has photo gallery Published on FLTLT Tritia Evans (author), SGT Shane Gidall (photographer)

Location(s): Darwin, Northern Territory

Topic(s): Exercise KAKADU

Regional partners tour the Darwin Military Museum during Exercise Kakadu 2016. (photo: SGT Shane Gidall)
Regional partners tour the Darwin Military Museum during Exercise Kakadu 2016.

International observers at the recent Exercise KAKADU in Darwin made time to appreciate Australia’s military and cultural history, touring the Darwin Military Museum and Second World War Oil Storage Tunnels.  

Participants from India, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and South Korea viewed artillery pieces, vehicles, uniforms, models and paintings in the exhibitions on the 1942 bombing of Darwin, First World War and the Vietnam War.

The Japanese aircraft carrier borne forces that attacked Darwin on 19 February 1942 were the same forces that attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941, dropping more bombs on Darwin than they did on Pearl Harbour.

Indian Navy Commander Dinesh Singh Rana enjoyed the experience said they were enlightened through stories recreating the time Australia was brought to the forefront of the conflict.

“Our visit to the Second World War heritage sites was educational and clearly depicted the grit and resolve of the Australian people in standing up to the imperial designs,” he said.

“Further, it was heartening to see that these historical treasures have been preserved for posterity.”

Lieutenant Commander Jacqueline Swinton, Legal Officer, Fleet Battle Staff, organised the excursion to broaden the observers’ experience of Darwin and the exercise.

“The tour gave them an opportunity for greater international engagement and a more broad appreciation of Australia’s military history,” she said. 

“This included the impact of military operations in Darwin."

The International Observer Program within KAKADU 2016 was designed to build relations among the participants and to share experiences around the planning and conduct of military exercises. 

Exercise KAKADU involved 19 ships and submarines and 18 aircraft.

Nations participating in the 13th iteration included Canada, France, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and the United States. Working alongside Australian Navy and Air Force assets were observers from Fiji, India, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Thailand, Timor Leste, Tonga and Vietnam.