Australian personnel from Task Group Taji Rotation 2 have formally handed over responsibility for training the Iraqi Security Forces at the Taji Military Complex in Iraq.
CAPTION: Iraqi Army soldiers conduct tactics training while Australian Army soldier Warrant Officer Class 2 Tomasi Navusolo observes, at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. Photo by Corporal Jake Sims
The Transfer of Authority Parade allowed the outgoing Commander Colonel Gavin Keating to hand over future training responsibilities to incoming Task Group Taji Rotation 3 Commander Colonel Andrew Lowe.
“The Task Group trained nearly 4000 Iraqi Army soldiers during our six-month deployment,” he said.
“We provided high quality and innovative training to the Iraqi Army which has given them the skills needed for upcoming operations.
“This is a significant contribution to the Coalition’s efforts to help the Iraqi Security Forces defeat Daesh.”
Colonel Keating said while the numbers of Iraqi soldiers trained was significant, Task Group Taji 2 had additional achievements to be proud of.
“We have also reinforced with Coalition partners our excellent reputation as effective, capable and reliable allies,” Colonel Keating said
While Task Group Taji 2’s personnel are keen to return home, their hard work has ensured they provided a comprehensive handover to the incoming third rotation.
“We are confident the new team will continue the excellent work completed by the first two rotations and improve upon it,” he said.
Commanding Officer of Task Group Taji’s Training Unit Lieutenant Colonel Jim Hammett said Rotation 2 had introduced a number of innovative programs including bayonet training, night training, infantry and armour cooperation and helicopter familiarisation.
“The key to success has been accepting it is mastering the basic skills that are most important to the Iraqi Army,” Lieutenant Colonel Hammett said.
Lieutenant Colonel Hammett said it had been important to include battlefield lessons into training programs.
“We have made the training as realistic and relevant as possible, drawing battlefield lessons from the soldiers themselves,” he said.
Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said Task Group Taji Rotation 2 personnel should be proud of their contribution to the Coalition building-partner capacity mission.
“The Iraqi Security Forces have received professional and expert training from the Australian and New Zealand personnel from this rotation and are well prepared for countering Daesh,” he said.
“Task Group Taji Rotation 2 have reinforced the positive relationship and close military heritage that is shared by our militaries.”
Task Group Taji 3 consists of around 300 Australian Defence Force personnel drawn largely from the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade, alongside 105 New Zealand Defence Force personnel.