Exercise Lightning Kiwi is reborn after 34 years

| July 31, 2014 | 0 Comments
WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt. Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert
3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Thirty-four years ago, Soldiers from the 25th Infantry Division traveled to New Zealand to train with the Royal New Zealand Artillery for Tropic Twilight Exercise (TTE).

Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and from 25th ID, have made a remarkable transition in becoming the first unit to travel back to restart the relationship that was once there before, July 23-26.

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Command Sgt. Maj. Francis Citizen (center), senior enlisted adviser, 3rd Battalion,7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, looks on while A Battery Soldiers train with the 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Command Sgt. Maj. Francis Citizen (center), senior enlisted adviser, 3rd Battalion,7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, looks on while A Battery Soldiers train with the 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

“I am very happy about the whole process, of how it all came about (only) within a matter of months’ planning,” said Capt. Craig W. Osbeck, company commander, A Btry, 3-7th FA.

The thought of the two countries to participate was an idea of Maj. Edward A. Gomez, officer in charge, S-3 Operations.

“My father, when he was stationed on Schofield 34 years ago, he participated in the TTE, and I just wanted to do the same thing, since being in an FA unit,” said Gomez. “I think we can rebuild this relationship once again.”

The training between the two countries has built a relationship in which the two would like to see more of in the near future.

“When I took over in April, the following month they started the transaction. It happened so fast,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Francis K. Citizen, senior enlisted leader, 3-7th FA.

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

The U.S. and New Zealand have maintained good working relations on a broad array of issues, and the countries share an excellent system of communication. After all the time that has passed, it’s just as if time has stood still and the countries have picked up where they left off.

“You guys stood the exercise up and got the Soldiers from your battalion so fast within weeks,” said Col. Nicholas Gillard, 1st (New Zealand) Brigade.

Falling in on their equipment, their ammunition, their safeties and their drivers made the whole process a lot easier to transition into the training that was conducted.

“It has been a great impact on us because we are fielding the M1193A, so we did this along with the partnership,” Citizen stated.

The U.S. and New Zealand, with their strong shared values, can work together to shape a better world.

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

WAIOURU, New Zealand — Soldiers of Alpha Battery, 3rd Battalion, 7th Field Artillery Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, train with the 163th Battery, 16th Field Regt., Royal New Zealand Artillery, on the M119A3 weapon system during Exercise Lightning Kiwi, here, July 23-26. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Catrina Herbert, 3rd Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs, 25th Infantry Division)

Despite the weather, Soldiers went out and performed the training they deployed to do.

“It was great having you all here, and we’ll be seeing you in March for the same training in Hawaii,” said Gillard.

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Category: Deployed Forces, News, Training

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