Air component transfers authority
28 January 2015
The Air Component Coordination Element (ACCE) Middle East Region (MER) is up and running after a Transfer of Authority from the Australian Air Component at Joint Task Force 633.
Wing Commander Steve Laredo, as the final Air Component Commander, handed over the reins to the new ACCE MER Commander, WGCDR Sarah Stalker in a ceremony at Australia’s main logistics base in the Middle East on 14 January 2015.
The ACCE MER provides coordination and tasking support to Headquarters JTF633 for all aircraft supporting ADF operations in the Middle East including Operations HIGHROAD, OKRA, MANITOU and ACCORDION.
WGCDR Laredo said it was a privilege to lead the component for the past six months.
“This period has been one of the busiest the Air Component and Joint Task Force 633 (JTF633) have seen in many years,” he said.
“I gladly hand over to WGCDR Stalker who inherits a very good team that will continue to provide first class service to the personnel deployed in the MER.”
Commander JTF633, Rear Admiral Trevor Jones, AO, CSC, RAN said the air group operating out of Australia’s main logisitics facility was the longest residency of any element to be based there.
“In terms of longevity across the ADF, only RAAF Butterworth in Malaysia has operated for longer,” he said.
“You are a credit to the ADF with regard to the experience and support your team has provided and continues to provide to the broader team in the Middle East.”
The Australian Air Component has been deployed to the Middle East Region since 2003.
Over the past 13 years the AAC has overseen the establishment of the Control and Reporting Centre (CRC) manned by Air Defence Controllers, AP-3C Orions, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (Project Heron), C-130J Hercules and C-17A Globemaster transport aircraft.
Operations have utilised AAC aircraft based in the Middle East Region and both Heron and CRC based in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Incoming Commander ACCE MER WGCDR Stalker, on her sixth rotation to the Middle East, said it was a busy period for all of her team and acknowledged some of her aircrew were also deploying for their sixth rotations and for longer deployments than normal.
“The next period is going to be both challenging and present some unique opportunities for the ACCE MER and its staff,” she said.
“We do our job, we do it well, and we maintain high levels of reliability with aircraft to support the MER and all its operations.
“The focus for my tenure is to look after all my people to make sure they are safe and continue to provide the same quality service in support of all the operations in the entire region.”