The third rotation of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel bound for Task Group Taji in Iraq departed from Christchurch Airport yesterday for a Mission Readiness Exercise in Australia.
Minister of Defence, Gerry Brownlee and Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Major General (MAJGEN) Tim Gall, were there to farewell the contingent of just over 100 NZDF personnel who will deploy to Iraq from Australia for the Building Partner Capacity training mission.
The exercise will include a series of scenarios designed to ensure the Task Group trainers are ready for the tasks and environment they will face in Iraq.
Those travelling to the exercise include trainers, health, logistics and force protection personnel, as well as headquarters staff.
“The Mission Readiness Exercise has proved invaluable for the past two rotations, as it enabled the Task Groups to integrate and build key relationships. This meant they could hit the ground running when they got to Taji,” said MAJGEN Gall.
Now in its 11 month of operations, Task Group Taji, the combined Australian and New Zealand task force, is achieving good progress and is having a tangible and positive impact on the ability of the ISF to combat ISIL.
“Over 4000 Iraqi soldiers have completed unit-level and individual specialty courses conducted by Task Group Taji since late April 2015. We expect more ISF members will be trained in coming months, showing the Iraqi government’s regard for the value of the training programme and the enhanced capabilities of their trained forces,” said MAJGEN Gall.