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.