Distinguished career commemorated
20 August 2013
Vice Chief of the Australian Defence Force, Air Marshal Mark Binskin, last week marked the 100th anniversary of the graduation of Australia’s most senior soldier from Pakistan’s historic military institution, the Pakistan Army Command and Staff College in Quetta.
Air Marshal Binskin said he was honoured by the invitation from the Commandant, Major General Sohail Ahmed Khan, to speak to the students and faculty and talk about the service of Field Marshal Thomas Blamey following his training at Quetta.
“One of Australia’s earliest students at the Staff College in Quetta, Captain Thomas Blamey graduated in 1913. Blamey is the only Australian ever promoted to five-star rank when he became a Field Marshal in 1950,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
Field Marshal Blamey is one of Australia’s most distinguished soldiers. He participated in the Gallipoli campaign and the major battles on the Western Front during the First World War.
Throughout the Second World War, Field Marshal Blamey was Australia’s senior soldier and from 1942 to 1945 was Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces. He led Australian forces in the Middle East, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific campaigns.
Air Marshal Binskin said Field Marshal Blamey’s attendance at the Pakistan Army Command and Staff College wasn’t the only military connection between the two countries.
“We not only have historical linkages which bind Pakistan and Australia, but also close modern defence ties based on an extensive program of personnel exchanges and training,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
Australia offers Defence training courses to some 140 Pakistan military personnel in Australia each year. Fifteen Pakistan officers undertake Masters level courses in Australian universities. Australian Defence Force personnel also participate in training and courses within Pakistan.
“These educational opportunities strengthen our ties, deepen our understanding of each other and form a significant and growing part of our bilateral relationship,” Air Marshal Binskin said.
There are two significant exchange programs between the Australian and Pakistan Armies this year. Delegations from the Australian Command and Staff College, Canberra, and the Pakistan Army Command and Staff College, Quetta will exchange visits; and the Royal Military College, Duntroon, the Australian Army’s pre-eminent officer training institution, and the Pakistan Military Academy also have reciprocal visits.
Imagery of Air Marshal Binskin’s visit is available at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131147
A copy of Air Marshal Binskin's speech is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/vcdf/Speeches.html
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999