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Fire making forges new friendships on Ex Kowari

Fire making forges new friendships on Ex Kowari
An Australian Army reservist and West Australian stockman has taught fire making techniques to Exercise Kowari participants from China, the US and Australia.

Private Navarone Salerno of the North West Mobile Force (Norforce) is a mentor on the course. When he’s not serving with Norforce he is looking after 6,000 head of cattle on El Questro Station in the Kimberley.

Private Salerno demonstrated the traditional fire making technique, rubbing a stick between the palms of his hands, to the 30 military personnel undergoing survival training in remote bushland in the Northern Territory.

He then helped People’s Republic of China officer Lieutenant Yang Zhong hao from Zunyi in Guizhou Province with the ‘bow’ method.

When Lieutenant Yang’s ‘bird’s nest’ of kapok, grass and kangaroo droppings burst into flame, he was ecstatic. Lieutenant Yang shared his thoughts through an interpreter.

“I failed three times, but the fourth time I got the fire going,” Lieutenant Yang said.

“I’m really excited because I’ve never achieved this before. I’ve learned a very good skill.”

The participants on Exercise Kowari are split into three groups of 10, each containing a mix of nationalities. They are learning quickly to work together with their teammates.

US Army Staff Sergeant Sergio Morales from Riverside, California, was impressed with Lieutenant Lachlan Joseph from the Australian Army.

“Lachie made dinner from the ration packs on the first night, which was a stew with mashed potatoes,” Staff Sergeant Morales said.

“That was ‘train smash. Lamb with rosemary and beef with black bean mixed together. The Chinese and the Americans seemed to like it,” Lieutenant Joseph said.

Meanwhile the language barrier is starting to crack.

“There is an interpreter that we can call on and most of the Chinese soldiers have phrase books,” Lieutenant Joseph said.

“There’s also a bit of sign language and we’re getting pretty good at impromptu games of pictionary.”

Last updated
7 September 2016
Army: Courage. Initiative. Respect. Teamwork.
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