Friends and family of nearly 300 Australian Defence Force personnel soon to deploy to Iraq on Operation Okra said their formal goodbyes following a parade at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane on Wednesday.
CAPTION: Australian Army soldiers from Task Group Taji IX on their formal farewell parade at Gallipoli Barracks, Brisbane. Photo by Corporal Nunu Campos.
The parade followed nearly a month of important pre-deployment training, including language and cultural lessons, combat medical training, weapon drills and hand-to-hand self-defence methods.
The ADF contingent bound for the Taji Military Complex 20km north of Baghdad consists primarily of soldiers from Brisbane’s 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) and will form the ninth rotation of Task Group Taji.
Task Group Taji’s mission is to mentor, advise and assist the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) through a ‘train the trainer’ model which aims to enhance the ability of the ISF to deliver its own training and help it secure and stabilise areas already cleared of Daesh.
Around 90 New Zealanders will also form part of Task Group Taji IX, under Operation Okra – the ADF’s contribution to the US-led Global Coalition to combat the Daesh terrorist threat in Iraq and Syria.