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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, May 24) – Two female soldiers were among three Papua New Guinea Defense Force soldiers "jumping off" a French military aircraft yesterday to end a bilateral military exercise between the French military based in New Caledonia and the Air Transport Squadron wing of the Papua New Guinea Defense Force.

Lt Nancy Wii and Lt Irene Tsiamalili joined Cpl Brian Josiah to parachute down from 4,333m (13,000 feet) above sea level, alongside their French counterparts yesterday.

The three soldiers, members of the Air Transport Squadron wing, had been engaged in a two-day annual exercise code named Brown Shark with their French counterparts.

Papua New Guinea Defense Force acting training commander Lt Col John Rakatani, when officially opening the bilateral exercise, said both militaries would have the opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from each other.

He said Exercise Brown Shark was in its 5th year.

"The Papua New Guinea Defense Force welcomed the opportunity to train with the French forces," he said.

Twenty-three French military personnel including three female paratroopers arrived in Port Moresby on Monday on their own CASA aircraft for the exercise.

They return to New Caledonia tomorrow.

May 25, 2006

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