Twenty-six soldiers deployed on Exercise Surfing Penguin take a break from training at Rainbow Beach on Sunday. Nine soldiers will be trained to operate the army ducks and a mix of instructors and support staff is required to ensure the safe and efficient conduct of the exercise.
Twenty-six soldiers deployed on Exercise Surfing Penguin take a break from training at Rainbow Beach on Sunday. Nine soldiers will be trained to operate the army ducks and a mix of instructors and support staff is required to ensure the safe and efficient conduct of the exercise. LEE GAILER

Marines like ducks to water

ARMY marine soldiers are being trained to operate amphibious cargo vehicles in surf at Rainbow Beach and other parts of the Cooloola Coast.

Civilians were welcome to watch army activity near the beach access, north of Rainbow Shores, at the weekend but warned to stay clear of the training zone.

The training at Rainbow Beach was part of a two-week exercise called Surfing Penguin, conducted by the 35th Water Transport Squadron, the 10th Force Support Battalion, for the army's marine specialists to practice and qualify to operate "army ducks" in surf zones.

The Royal Military College conducted training in Tin Can Bay and along the Cooloola Coast every second year from March through to September. Basic operator training for the vehicles, officially called a "lighter amphibious resupply cargo vehicle", was conducted in Townsville as a part of marine specialist basic training.

To train soldiers in unfamiliar surf conditions in a simulated real-life operation, the exercise was conducted on the Cooloola Coast.

As surf conditions could make amphibian operations potentially hazardous, a different set of skills were required to ensure safe operation.

The ability to operate in the surf zone was a critical capability for the army to enable transportation of personnel and cargo across unprepared beaches.

This capability was crucial during wartime and humanitarian missions where port facilities might be non-existent or destroyed.

Gympie Times


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