Australian soldiers farewelled ahead of deployment to Afghanistan

More than 300 Australian soldiers were formally farewelled in Brisbane today ahead of their deployment to Afghanistan.

CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from Force Protection Element 4 simulate evacuating a casualty during a mission rehearsal exercise. Photo by Corporal Shannon McCarthy

Mostly from the Brisbane-based 7th Brigade, the soldiers recently finished their final preparations and mission-specific training.

Members of Force Protection Element 4 (FPE4) and Force Communication Element 3 (FCE3), were on parade as the final official function before they board the plane to take them to the Middle-East early next month.

Today’s parade was the culmination of months of training and was a chance for families and friends to say a collective goodbye.

Officer Commanding FPE4 Major Chris Moss said the soldiers were appreciative of the opportunity to say a proper goodbye to their families and friends.

“Our role in Afghanistan will be to protect our advisors as they provide valuable assistance to the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces,” Major Moss said.

“We take that role very seriously and it’s great to see the people back home acknowledging this and showing our families that they will be well looked after while we are away.

“We are going to be away for some time doing a job we have volunteered for and trained very hard for and it’s great we can make this a special day for those we are going to be away from for so long.”

Major Moss said Australia’s mission in Afghanistan had changed but had not yet ended.

“We remain committed to supporting Afghanistan’s security, governance and development but ultimately it is the Afghan government and people who have the responsibility for creating their own future,” he said.

Australian soldiers from Force Protection Element 4 and Force Communication Element 3 on parade at their formal farewell in Brisbane.
Australian soldiers from Force Protection Element 4 and Force Communication Element 3 on parade at their formal farewell in Brisbane. Photo by Corporal Shannon McCarthy

Forces Commander Major General Gus Gilmore attended today’s parade, as did the Governor and Premier of Queensland and other invited guests.

 

 

 

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Brian Hartigan

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2 thoughts on “Australian soldiers farewelled ahead of deployment to Afghanistan

  • 09/11/2015 at 1:18 am
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    Just came across this article and it is now November. Are our troops still operational in Afghanistan and am i mistaken or were there governmental undertakings to have all Australia’s troops out of there by the end of 2014 ?

    Reply
    • 09/11/2015 at 10:08 pm
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      Hi Michael. While Operation Slipper (the warfighting mission) has been closed down, Operation Highroad is still ongoing. There was never any government intent or promise to take all troops out of Afghanistan. In fact, it was the Australian government’s (and others) intent to stay there as long as they were ‘welcomed’ by the Afghan government. That ‘welcome’ had to include a signed ‘state of forces agreement’ (which essentially gives foreign forces immunity from local laws) – and the Afghan government held off signing that until the very last moment.

      Here’s the official info on Op Highroad…
      The ADF’s commitment to Afghanistan is known as Operation HIGHROAD and is fulfilled by personnel serving with the ADF’s Task Group Afghanistan. Task Group Afghanistan’s Headquarters is at Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport and comprises a command element of about 45 ADF personnel, which coordinates administration, communications and logistics support for all ADF members deployed to Afghanistan. Australia remains committed to a stable and secure Afghanistan and continues to support the NATO-led train, advise and assist mission called Resolute Support which has replaced the previous NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) mission. Around 250 ADF members from the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Air Force and Defence civilians are deployed in Afghanistan as part of Operation HIGHROAD.

      And, FYI – Operation Okra in Iraq is….
      Operation OKRA is the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the international effort to combat the Daesh (also known as ISIL) terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria. Australia’s contribution is being closely coordinated with the Iraqi government, Gulf nations and a broad coalition of international partners.
      About 780 ADF personnel have deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation OKRA. These personnel make up the Air Task Group (ATG), the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) and Task Group Taji (TG Taji).
      Approximately 400 personnel have been assigned to the ATG, approximately 80 personnel are assigned to the SOTG and approximately 300 personnel are assigned to TG Taji.

      Reply

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