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Operation FALCONER

Australia: 18 March 2003 to 22 July 2003

Area of Operations: The Specified Area bounded by the geographical coordinates: 38 00N 68 00E ; 38 00N 32 00E ; 10 00N 32 00E ; 10 00N 68 00E .

Australia provided one of the four most substantial combat force contingents during the 2003 invasion of Iraq under the operational codename Operation Falconer. Part of its contingent were among the first forces to enter Iraq after the official "execute" order. The initial Australian force consisted of three Royal Australian Navy ships, 500 special forces soldiers, P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft, C-130 Hercules transport aircraft and No. 75 Squadron RAAF (which included 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighters) which was the first combat deployment of Australian aircraft since the Vietnam War. Combat forces committed to Operation Falconer for the 2003 Invasion were withdrawn during 2003.

The Australian force made an important though limited contribution to Coalition operations during the invasion of Iraq. The Australian contribution was also geographically dispersed, with the Australian forces forming part of larger US and British units rather than a concentrated Australian unit. No Australian personnel were killed or taken prisoner during the war.

Deployed: Approximately 2,000 personnel including 2 RAN Frigates with a single Seahawk helicopter each, one Amphibious Warfare ship carrying 350 crew and soldiers, including embarked Australian Army LCM-8 landing craft and an anti-aircraft contingent, a Sea King helicopter and a bomb disposal team; Clearance Diving Team Three; Royal Australian Air Force Squadron operating 14 F/A-18 Hornet fighter jets together with 250 command, coordination, support and aircrew personnel; Three C-130H Hercules transport aircraft and 150 support personnel; Two AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and 150 support personnel; Australian Army - 500-strong special forces task group consisting of: Forward Command Element; Special Forces Task Group attached to Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-West (CJSOTF-W)including: 1 Squadron Group (SASR), Platoon (+), Royal Australian Regiment (Commando), D Troop Incident Response Regiment, Combat Service Support Group; 3 CH-47 Chinooks and support elements; 2 LCM-8 Landing Craft; and about 60 HQ personnel.

Veterans’ Entitlements Determination dated 16 September 2003: Warlike Service.

Awards: Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with Clasp ‘IRAQ 2003’ - 1 day/1 sortie ; Iraq Medal (Iraq-Medal-S154-09-Determination.pdf).

AASM 1988 Iraq Medal
AASM with Clasp
‘IRAQ 2003’
Iraq Medal