Minister for Defence Materiel – Minister meets soldiers preparing for Afghanistan

Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today met with soldiers from the next Mentoring Taskforce to be deployed to Afghanistan and was briefed on their preparations.

Mr Clare visited Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane where soldiers from Mentoring Taskforce Four (MTF-4) are based to meet soldiers who will deploy early next year and get a detailed brief on the kitting and training for their deployment.

“My job is to make sure that our troops have the equipment they need to do their job in Afghanistan. I am here today to make sure preparations for their deployment are on track,” Mr Clare said.

Mr Clare met troops from MTF-3 twice prior to their deployment and met with them again in Afghanistan two months ago.

MTF-3 was the first Mentoring Task Force to deploy with the new lighter TBAS body armour.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

In June this year, Mr Clare announced that MTF-4 would be the first to trial a new system that will make it easier to wear the boots they want to wear into battle.

Soldiers are provided with Army standard issue boots. If they want to wear another boot they can purchase them from a list of boots approved by the Chief of Army for use on operations and exercises.

This trial means that MTF-4 soldiers who decide not to wear the standard issue boot and purchase boots on the Chief of Army’s approved list will receive up to $192 to assist with this purchase.

The $192 is equivalent to the Defence purchase price of the standard issue boots to which they are entitled.

“Soldiers have told me that they want to be able to choose their own boots – and this will make it easier for them to do that,” Mr Clare said.

“One of the most important pieces of personal equipment a soldier has is their boots. Every foot is different, so choice is important. This will make it easier for soldiers to wear the boots they want to.”

Further phases of the trial will roll out to other Army units in 2012.

Media contact: Korena Flanagan – 02 6277 7620

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