As part of an initiative to promote collaboration and empower women in military roles, the 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1CER) recently hosted a group of 11 women from The Timor-Leste Defence Force (F-FDTL). This visit was a crucial component of the F-FDTL Gender Development Program, which aimed to offer Timorese women valuable insights and hands-on experiences essential to their military roles.

Under the guidance of 1CER Troop Commander Lieutenant Darielle Corpuz, the program consisted of a series of events designed to enhance the confidence and skills of F-FDTL women in combat-related roles. Lieutenant Corpuz explained that the program aimed to showcase the operational capabilities and responsibilities of female soldiers within the Australian Army.

Highlighting the importance of collaboration with Timor-Leste, Lieutenant Corpuz emphasized the opportunity for women in the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and F-FDTL to share skills, gain confidence, and mutually empower each other. The F-FDTL soldiers participated in demonstrations illustrating the direct support provided by women in combat roles, covering areas such as watercraft safety protocols, simulated and live-fire combat shooting techniques, and comprehensive capability briefs.

In addition to insights into the Australian Army’s operations and methodologies, the F-FDTL contingent received a cultural engagement and capability brief from NORFORCE (North-West Mobile Force). The program also included hands-on instruction in the Army Combatives Program, enhancing the F-FDTL soldiers’ proficiency in close-quarters combat and equipping them with valuable skills for their roles.

Jemma Malcolm, First Secretary Defence – Timor-Leste, who accompanied the contingent, acknowledged the pivotal role of Australia’s Defence Cooperation Program in supporting the F-FDTL’s development since 2002. She highlighted the significant bilateral Defence relationship between Australia and Timor-Leste, emphasizing that such collaborations strengthen the capabilities and expertise of the F-FDTL.

Ms. Malcolm concluded that the engagement between 1CER and F-FDTL women exemplified the commitment to supporting each other’s defence capabilities, while simultaneously advancing gender inclusion and empowerment within the military domain.

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