From supporting the NSW Police on Operation COVID-19 Assist to supporting the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF) as part of the Australian Government’s support, it has been a whirlwind year for Captain James Finlayson, of the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (3RAR).
CAPTION: Australian Army Captain James Finlayson is deployed as the Combat Contingent Commander for Joint Task Group 637.3 in Honiara. Story by Major Jillian Joyce. Photo by Corporal Brandon Grey.
Captain Finlayson is deployed as part of Joint Task Group 637.3, the ADF contribution to the Australian Government response to a request from the Solomon Islands Government to help stabilise the situation in Honiara.
“The opportunity to deploy and provide assistance to who needs it is a privilege,” Captain Finlayson said.
“To get two opportunities in a year is rare and something I appreciate, especially as I am now leading a group of motivated, professional soldiers, ready to do whatever is asked of them.”
Captain Finlayson grew up in a farming community near Goondiwindi in Queensland and is used to thinking quickly and being ready for anything.
“From warning order to stepping on the plane to the Solomon Islands was less than 36 hours. I could not be more impressed with the team and their readiness,” Captain Finlayson said.
“A high ready culture is something we hold dear at 3RAR and the whole of 3rd Brigade, and I think we showed that.”
Since arriving in Honiara, Captain Finlayson and his team have undertaken a variety of tasks and are ready to step up no matter what situation arises.
As the main liaison officer to the Police Operations Centre, Captain Finlayson is coordinating his team closely with the Australian Federal Police in support of the RSIPF.
“Our approach is very much a coordinated effort where we support where needed to enhance the capability of the RSIPF,” he said.
On November 26 and 27, as part of the Australian Government response to a request from the Solomon Islands Government under the 2017 bilateral security treaty, about 80 ADF personnel deployed to support the RSIPF to stabilise the situation in Honiara.
Drawn from the Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, Army’s 3rd Brigade, 6th Brigade, and 17th Brigade and RAAF No. 4 Squadron the contingent is supporting DFAT and AFP colleagues.