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NEWS | Aug. 4, 2021

U.S. Army, Timor-Leste military kick off first bilateral exercise

By Sgt. Teresa Cantero Task Force Oceania

Exercise Dalan ba Dame 21 began with an opening ceremony at the Forcas de Defesa de Timor Leste (F-FDTL) Land Component Base in Baucau, Timor-Leste, on July 26 and will run through Aug. 6, 2021.

U.S. Army Reserve Col. Rudolph Santacroce, Deployable Command Post 1 Commander, 412th Theater Engineer Command and the chief of staff of the F-FDTL, Brig. Gen. Calisto Santos Coliati, opened the first bilateral joint exercise between U.S. Army and the Timorese military.

“This opening was incredible. It was a great experience in partnership and cooperation,” said Col. Santacroce, who is serving as the Army Forces Commander for the exercise.
Dalan ba Dame, which translates to “Path to Peace,” is a bilateral training exercise, supported by the U.S. Army Pacific Command aimed at improving the combined interoperability of the F-FDTL, 412th Theater Engineer Command, and 25th Infantry Division, to increase partner capacity for conventional, complex and future contingencies throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

“We’re here to build those relationships,” said Maj. Melvin Cabebe, of the Oceania Pathway Team for Task Force Oceania. “We’re here to learn from each other. It’s both the U.S. Army sharing what we know and it’s also F-FDTL teaching our troops.” Cabebe, who works closely with the U.S. Embassy as a part of Task Force Oceania, helped coordinate the event and logistics between the 412th Engineer Command and the F-FDTL.

Through exercises like DbD21, the U.S. Army improves its ability to work together with allies and partners and build on their collective strength.

“All of our Soldiers are extraordinarily excited to work together,” said Santacroce. “I think that there’s a lot of skills that we’ll share and learn from each other.”