Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, welcomed the return of around 100 members of Task Group Taji Rotation 8 who touched down in Brisbane today following a successful deployment to Iraq.
Minister Reynolds acknowledged the important role the Task Group had played for the past seven months, helping to train and develop the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) alongside the New Zealand Defence Force and Singaporean Armed Forces.
“The latest rotation of the Task Group achieved significant milestones, working with Iraqi Army instructors to help train more than 6,000 soldiers from the ISF,” Minister Reynolds said.
“These soldiers will now go out into the provinces and significantly improve the ability of the ISF to secure and stabilise areas of Iraq liberated from Daesh.”
The Task Group enabled the opening of the Iraqi Army School of Infantry Non-Commissioned Officers II, achieving initial operating capability ahead of schedule. Outgoing Commander of Task Group Taji 8, Colonel Jason Groat, said the mission had made a critical contribution to the capability of the ISF.
“The achievement means the Iraqi School of Infantry now conducts more than 75 per cent of its training without the need for any Coalition assistance,” Colonel Groat said.
“It’s an achievement we are all very proud of and we share in the success of the ISF.”
In addition to preparing Iraqi trainers, Australia is also making a difference in the field of military health. Australian personnel at the Taji Medical Treatment Facility have shared their skills with Iraqi Army medical staff, helping to improve their medical capabilities.
Task Group Taji 8 handed over responsibility to Task Group Taji Rotation 9 at a Transfer of Authority Parade at the Taji Military Complex on 24 June 2019.
Commander of Task Group Taji 9, Colonel Michael Bassingthwaighte, said the incoming Australian Defence Force and New Zealand Defence Force personnel will work hard to build on the important work of Task Group Taji 8.
“All members of Task Group Taji 8 have done an excellent job in supporting the Iraqi School of Infantry to achieve initial operating capability,” Colonel Bassingthwaighte said.