From: Defence Media Centre
Sent: Sat 1/03/2014 1:17 PM

Darwin welcomes home last formed contingent of Defence personnel to serve in Uruzgan

The Prime Minister of Australia, The Hon. Tony Abbott MP, joined the Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO, in Darwin today to officially welcome home the last formed body of Australian Defence Force personnel to operate in Uruzgan province, Afghanistan.

Families, friends and members of the local community lined the streets of Darwin’s central business district where they cheered and waved Australian flags in tribute to the returned servicemen and women.

More than 250 ADF personnel, predominantly Army members, took part in the parade, which formally recognised the service and achievements of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Task Group, Combined Team Uruzgan – Four and Combined Team Uruzgan – Five, who deployed to Afghanistan across 2013.

Lieutenant General Morrison welcomed the contingent home from their successful tour of duty.

“Your duty performed with professionalism and honour should be a source of pride not only to you and your families, but also to our nation at large,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.

“It is no coincidence that today’s parade is on the official birthday of the Australian Army. With this parade, you join those who have come before you, adding your own distinctive chapter to the legacy left by all returned Australian servicemen and women.

“You are now members of a very select group of Australians who have proudly worn the Rising Sun Badge over 113 years of service to our nation. This is a proud label you will always carry with you.”

Commander of Darwin’s 1st Brigade, Brigadier John Frewen, AM, ADC, said the parade was an important step in recognising the service of not only Army’s members, but their families and friends.

“I have no doubt that we have left Uruzgun province better than we found it. The men and women on parade today are proud of what they have achieved for the people of Afghanistan and we can share in that pride,” Brigadier Frewen said.

“These remarkable young men and women have represented us very well in difficult and dangerous circumstances. However, that service would not be possible without the support and dedication of their families and friends.

“We often fail to recognise the crucial support our deployed servicemen and women depend on while overseas. Today is also about thanking the partners and children of the deployed members and the Darwin community for what they do.”

The parade was led by members of the Royal Australian Engineers who, with explosive detection dog Domino, re-enacted a route clearance mission — a vital role in ensuring the safety and security of Australian soldiers during their operations in Afghanistan.

The engineers were followed by members of Combined Team Uruzgan (rotations four and five), the 2nd Cavalry Regiment Task Group, Force Support Unit – Seven, the Logistics Training Advisory Team, Artillery Training Advisory Team – Two, Armoured Corps support elements and Force Communications Unit (rotations eight and nine), all proudly marched through the Darwin CBD.

The parade concluded at Raintree Park, where the Prime Minister received the salute and inspected the formation. Also present at the parade were: Administrator of the Northern Territory the Hon. Ms Sally Thomas, AC; Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Defence Ms Gai Brodtmann; and Chief Minister for The Northern Territory Mr Adam Giles. The Australian Defence Force maintains a continued presence in Afghanistan, with approximately 400 members remaining to provide ongoing training and advisory support for the Afghan National Security Forces.

Media note:
Imagery of the parade will be available later today at the following link: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140460

Further information on the force elements participating in the parade is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/operations/afghanistan/factsheets/middleeast.asp

Media contact: Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999