New Commanding Officer at NORFORCE

Lieutenant Colonel John Papalitsas CSC is the new Commanding Officer of the North West Mobile Force (NORFORCE).

Lieutenant Colonel Papalitsas, 39, joins NORFORCE from Forces Command in Sydney, where his work on developing foundation frameworks, concepts and capabilities to improve Army’s ability to achieve success in joint land combat was recognised in the recent Australia Day Honours with the award of the Conspicuous Service Cross.

Lieutenant Colonel Papalitsas brings a wide range of experience to his new role. He has served in Iraq and East Timor, and is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

“I’m honoured and humbled to have taken over as the Commanding Officer of such an iconic unit of the Australian Army,” Lieutenant Colonel Papalitsas said.

“NORFORCE’s mission is to conduct surveillance, reconnaissance and community engagement in Australia’s north and north-west in support of national security aims.

“Our soldiers are continuing the proud traditions of the 2/1 North Australia Observer Unit and the Northern Territory Special Reconnaissance Unit from the Second World War.

“We have a unique capability to achieve these tasks through our standing in the community and the networks we have built over our 35 years through engaging with remote Indigenous communities, land owners, government agencies and other key stakeholders within the NT and the Kimberley region of Western Australia.”

Lieutenant Colonel Papalitsas has taken over as Commanding Officer from Lieutenant Colonel Matt Campbell, who completed his two-year tenure in November 2015.

NORFORCE has its headquarters at Larrakeyah Barracks in Darwin, with squadrons located in Darwin, Alice Springs, Nhulunbuy and Broome.

The unit’s area of operations extends across some 1.8 million square kilometres of the Northern Territory and Western Australia.


Editor’s note: I knew this man a million years ago when he was a new lieutenant. Top bloke. Congratulations Sir.










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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

5 thoughts on “New Commanding Officer at NORFORCE

  • 09/06/2019 at 12:00 pm

    Brian Hartigan
    I was one of many who signed up with NORFORCE in Darwin under the command of Lieutenant CoJohn George

    I had the highest of qualifications you could get at the time
    An EC109
    I won the first position in the 2 week SPECIAL AIR SERVICE Medical course run by I think his rank for a Colonel and he was an experienced anesthetist.

    I qualified on the static line and free fall night time parachute course

    I always won the shooting comps with the F1 , M-16 , M26. and M-60 we went to a range down out in the scrub somewhere can’t remember the name , and I used to set up all the weapons before hand before the rest of the qualifying guys got there.

    I was very proud to be in the Army Reserve’s first operational unit.

    I carried a L1-A1 and a browning Hi Power.

    I was one of the most enjoyable memorial experiences I ever had

    I will arrive in Darwin from Hong Kong on the 12 Jun 2019 and leave about 5 days later

    He stands at the bar with a can in his hands , he a mean Mother F##KER he’s a Norforce Man

  • 10/09/2018 at 11:34 am

    Can you please forward me a contact for Nhulunbuy please. Looking for assistance with accommodation for a couple of football teams visiting Gove at the end of the month.

  • 04/08/2017 at 11:40 am

    My father served with both Sparrow and Lancer Forces in Timor in 1942/43. He received numerous messages from Norforce during that period and I am now wondering if that entity keet awar diary.If so one could only presume a copy would be held in Darwin.
    Could you please advise

    • 04/08/2017 at 1:09 pm

      Hi Jim. Unlikely NORFORCE would have such records on site in Darwin, but if you want to ask them, write to and ask via that channel. Also try the Australian War Memorial.
      Brian Hartigan
      CONTACT Editor

  • 08/08/2016 at 1:30 pm

    Hi my name is Charmaine Grewal just a question I’m enquirer of if there are under 13 kids academy in Darwin?


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