The next generation of junior leaders graduated from the Iraqi Army’s Non-Commissioned Officers’ Academy at Taji Military Complex, Iraq this week.
The Iraqi Minister of Defence Mr Khalid Al Obaidi, Iraqi Army Deputy Chief of Staff for Training Lieutenant General Salahedeen Mustafa Kamal attended the graduation parade along with Commanding General Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command Major General Richard Clarke. Around 235 Iraqi Army soldiers marched out of the third Junior Leader’s Course (JLC) supported by Task Group Taji.
The graduation takes the total number of soldiers trained by Task Group Taji, the combined Australian and New Zealand Task Group, to around 4220 since it commenced last April.
Task Group Taji is training Iraqi Army soldiers as part of the broader international Building Partner Capacity mission.
Mr Obaidi thanked the Australian and New Zealand trainers who instructed on the course.
“We appreciate and are so thankful to the Australian and New Zealand instructors who made a special effort to train those warriors,” he said.
Mr Obaidi said the soldiers graduating from the JLC were well prepared to fight Daesh.
“You jundis who have completed this training are now ready to take the first step to liberate Mosul and defeat Daesh. In doing this, history will mention your names.”
Commander Task Group Taji Colonel Gavin Keating said the training provided by Task Group Taji would lead to the long term development of the Iraqi Army.
“This training is significant for the Iraqi Army because this is all about developing their junior leaders and junior non-commissioned officers,” he said.
“That’s critical for the long term institutional development of their Army.”
COL Keating said he was proud of the efforts by the Australian and New Zealand trainers who supported the course.
“The Task Group trainers have done an excellent job in imparting a lot of basic skills to the students,” he said.
“We’ve certainly seen a rise in the capability and confidence in those skills and I’m sure that when they go back to their units it will set them up well.
“I’ve been very impressed with the New Zealand and Australian trainers that have been involved with this course.
“They’ve been very positive, they’ve been very professional in their approach to the students and they’ve developed excellent rapport with the students. They have been great ambassadors for our respective nations.”
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