A graduation ceremony at the Taji Military Complex near Baghdad has marked another milestone for the Australian Defence Force, with Townsville-based soldiers having finished training a further 1,200 Iraqi Army soldiers.
This latest graduation takes the total number of New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) and ADF-trained soldiers to more than 26,000 since the training mission began in 2015.
Soldiers of the 53rd Brigade of the Iraqi Army completed courses such as weapons handling, marksmanship, laws of armed conflict, explosive hazard awareness, combat first aid, urban operations, obstacle breaching, vehicle check points, leadership, explosive ordnance disposal and combined arms operations.
The training is designed to enhance the combat capability of the 53rd Brigade as they return to operational service in the fight against Daesh/ISIS.
Task Group Taji 5's Commander Colonel Steve D’Arcy said the graduation was a proud moment for the men and women of Task Group Taji and the Iraqi Army.
"I am particularly proud of the hard work and effort put in by all the members of the 53rd Brigade," COL D’Arcy said.
"They have strived for excellence and should be justly proud of their achievements."
Commander 53rd Iraqi Army Brigade, Staff Brigadier General Ahmed Jabaar Baanon Hassan Al Abossi, and Commanding Officer Training Task Unit, Lieutenant Colonel Giles Cornelia, also attended the graduation parade.
"Today is the harvest of all the work that we have done in the past 10 weeks," Staff Brigadier General Ahmed said.
"Task Group Taji 5 has polished what we have already learned on the battlefield."
The 53rd Brigade will soon return to operational service to take part in future security operations.
Task Group Taji 5 is a combined Australian and New Zealand task force of 300 ADF and 100 NZDF members deployed to Iraq as part of Operation OKRA. The Australian contingent is mostly from Townsville’s 3rd Brigade.