More than 100 soldiers from the NSW-based 5th Brigade were welcomed home today after a successful four-month peacekeeping operation with the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
The contingent’s home parade took place at Victoria Barracks in Sydney and was officiated by the Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South Wales Regiment, Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO, Governor of New South Wales.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, said he was pleased that the contingent was able to strengthen peace and stability for the people of the Solomon Islands.
“Our soldiers have made a significant contribution to assisting one of our regional neighbours. We can all be very proud of what they have achieved and for their willingness to serve their country in our immediate region” Senator Feeney said.
The Reserve soldiers come from a diverse range of civilian occupations including police, university students, public servants and school teachers from the Sydney metropolitan area as well as southern and central NSW.
Acting Commander of the 5th Brigade, Colonel Graham Stewart, said NSW can be immensely proud of the way these soldiers have upheld the reputation of the Australian Army in the region.
“Reservists like this contingent from NSW bring diverse life skills and maturity to this operation. They are very good at engaging with the local people and gaining their trust in a very short time,” he said.
The Australian contingent formed part of the Combined Task Force (CTF) for RAMSI, which also included troops from Papua New Guinea. The CTF’s contribution included joint patrols with RAMSI’s Participating Police Force and the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF).
The mission, known as Operation ANODE, is primarily manned by highly-trained Reserve soldiers who take leave from their civilian jobs for the duration of the deployment. Their specialist skills help them to engage positively with the local community and build relationships that are important to the mission.
Images from the parade will be available later on the Defence website at the following link:
Information on Operation ANODE is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/op/solomonislands/index.cfm
Lorna Clarke: 0408 345 730
Defence Media Operations: 02 6127 1999