Approximately 450 Australian Defence Force personnel from Darwin were publicly farewelled by family and friends at Robertson Barracks today, as they prepare to deploy as the next force rotation into Afghanistan.
For the first time, an Australian deploying force will assume command of the Headquarters of Combined Team Uruzgan in Tarin Kot, taking over from the United States.
The personnel, drawn mainly from the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade along with members of the Royal Australian Navy and Royal Australian Air Force, will deploy to Afghanistan as Combined Team Uruzgan - Four, Force Communications Unit – Eight, Force Support Unit – Seven and Artillery Training Advisory Team – Two.
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Mr Warren Snowdon said the parade demonstrated Australia’s continuing commitment to the mission in Afghanistan.
“Today we recognise the significant commitment and sacrifice of our serving personnel and that of their families as they prepare to deploy to Afghanistan,” Mr Snowdon said.
“Each and every one of these men and women deserve our admiration and thanks for their dedication to the mission in Afghanistan at this important time.”
“The Australian Government is continuing to do all it can to support our serving men and women and their families. We wish them a successful and safe mission, as they undertake this important work,” he said.
Minister Snowdon has also paid tribute to Commander 1st Brigade, Brigadier Gus McLachlan AM, ADC. Brigadier McLachlan is being promoted to Major General and deploying to ISAF Headquarters in Kabul.
“Gus has been a professional and diligent Commander of the 1st Brigade, his promotion is recognition of his hard work, and I wish Gus every success in his upcoming deployment to ISAF Headquarters,” Mr Snowdon said.
Brigadier McLachlan said the farewell parade was an opportunity for friends, family and colleagues to wish the deploying members a safe and successful mission.
“Today offers family and friends the opportunity to celebrate the quality and commitment of our personnel and to wish them luck and support before their upcoming deployment to Afghanistan,” he said.
“Each member will play an important role to ensure that the transition for Afghan security by 2014 remains on track,” said Brigadier McLachlan.
The parade was hosted by Major General Rick Burr DSC, AM, MVO, Commander of the Australian Army’s 1st Division.
Lidija Ivanovski (Minister Snowdon): (02) 6277 7820 or 0407 108 935
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999