Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Senator David Feeney and Vice Chief of Defence Force Air Marshal Mark Binskin have just visited Australian Defence Force personnel deployed to the Middle East Area of Operations (MEAO).
Senator Feeney and AIRMSHL Binskin visited the Multi National Base - Tarin Kot and Kandahar Air Field in Afghanistan, and Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
“We met ADF members who continue to make outstanding contributions to the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and, more broadly, regional security. They are working long hours, achieving great results - sometimes with little public recognition - and doing Australia proud,” Senator Feeney said.
“During the visits I was pleased to meet a number of Reservists who are performing vital roles in Middle East operations. There are currently 91 Reservists deployed to the MEAO including 12 women. There are nearly 60 Reserve members on the ground in Afghanistan and more than 30 elsewhere in the Area of Operations. They are undertaking a wide variety of tasks including air crew, intelligence, signals and transport.
“ADF operations in the MEAO demonstrate the outstanding operational capability achieved by part-time and full-time personnel working together for their country,” Senator Feeney said.
AIRMSHL Binskin said the visit was an important opportunity to see the progress that Australian forces had made in training the Afghan National Army’s (ANA) 4th brigade in Uruzgan province.
“The 4th Brigade is increasingly taking the lead for planning and undertaking tactical operations. This is a credit to previous ADF Mentoring Task Forces which have trained the ANA elements in recent years, and this great work continues with Mentoring Task Force 4 (MTF-4) which has just deployed into Uruzgan,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
“Throughout 2012, MTF-4 will focus on further building the ANA’s capabilities, especially in medical, logistics and mechanical skills. The 4th Brigade is expected to be ready to assume responsibility for security in Uruzgan Province by 2014,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
“We also met the Special Operations Task Group which continues to work successfully with its Afghan partners to disrupt the insurgency’s leadership and revenue streams.
“Across the MEAO, Air Force’s heavy workload continues with AP-3C Orions, C-130s,
C-17s and Heron elements providing crucial support to Australian and Coalition forces. The Royal Australian Navy is also making an important maritime security contribution. Only last week, HMAS Parramatta interdicted a narcotics shipment in the North Arabian Sea,” AIRMSHL Binskin said.
Images of the visit are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003=&search=11122191
Patricia Schluter, Senator Feeney’s Office 0400 636 715
Departmental (02) 6127 1999