Private returns from East Timor
A former Waiheke High School student has just returned from a six-month deployment in East Timor.
Private Kyle Foster, 24, returned to New Zealand last week after completing a deployment in East Timor to support the Australian-led International Stabilisation Force.
The contingent, from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and supporting units, was the last Defence Force rotation to serve with the force.
A New Zealand Defence Force spokesman says the security environment in East Timor has remained calm and stable since the elections earlier this year and the force has completed its security mandate so the Kiwis and their Australian compatriots can return home.
The lower operational tempo of the deployment allowed the contingent to focus on training, on top of providing security to force bases and maintaining a Protected Mobility Vehicle Troop on standby to deploy a Quick Reaction Force.
Private Foster was kept busy on deployment with training to up his skills, as well as providing security to the International Stabilisation Force camps.
"There were always things to do work-wise, especially with all the training. We also had a number of opportunities to engage with the local community.
"When we got down-time we kept busy by going to the gym, or watching movies.
"The welfare system was pretty good, especially for keeping in touch with family back home."
Private Foster is looking forward to catching up with family at home, getting some rest and relaxation and going for a fish and a dive.
Private Foster has been in the New Zealand Army for four years and has previously deployed to the Solomon Islands.
A small Theatre Extraction Team replaced the returning contingent. It will work with the Australians to close down the bases and return military equipment over the next couple of months.
The New Zealand Defence Force has supported various operations in East Timor since 1999, and has assisted the International Stabilisation Force to maintain a stable and secure environment since 2006.
The Defence Force will maintain a footprint in East Timor with the deployment of five advisers to its defence force.