As Task Group Taji-6 wraps up its six-month deployment to the Taji Military Complex, the Australian and New Zealand Defence Force task groups have marked a milestone, training more more than 5,675 members of the Iraqi Security Forces.
Commander of Task Group Taji‑6 Colonel Robert Calhoun said their Rotation had contributed significantly to the ongoing Build Partner Capacity mission.
"It has been a privilege to serve as part of such a unique Task Group. To be part of an integrated Task Group, serving in the same part of the world, and wearing the same patch as our Anzacs did in 1915 is very special," COL Calhoun said.
"What is most important, however, is what has brought us together as a coalition team, and that is to support our partners, the Iraqi Security Forces. Their courage and sacrifice to save their nation from extremism is humbling. It has been an honour for the Taji‑6 team to work with the Iraqis."
Task Group Taji‑7 will continue the legacy of the Australian and New Zealand Build Partner Capacity mission, which has trained more than 34,000 members of Iraqi Security Forces over the past three years.
"I know Rotation 7 will embrace this mission with the same spirit and determination as our predecessors. On behalf of all personnel of Rotation 6, we wish them every success," COL Calhoun said.
During the handover of Command, Commander of Task Group Taji-7 Colonel Mick Say said he was looking forward to building on what Taji‑6 and previous rotations have achieved.
"Task Group‑7 collectively is very keen to get started and get into the mission," COL Say said.
"Our preparation for this deployment has been extensive and we are all ready to start.
"We will continue to develop the capabilities of the Iraqi Army, in particular the Brigades, and build on the relationships with other coalition partners that are here supporting us and delivering training as well."
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Around 300 Australian and 100 New Zealand military personnel are deployed to Iraq on Operation Okra as part of Task Group Taji‑7. They are deployed to train members of the Iraqi Security Forces as they continue to stabilise areas now cleared of Daesh.