Middle East support element
17 October 2018
General Angus Campbell AO, DSC, Chief of the Defence Force, travelled to the Middle East in late September 2018 and witnessed the transfer of authority parade to mark the rotation of Australian Force Support Elements.
General Campbell presented the Australian Operational Service Medal to outgoing personnel, reminding them that Australia was proud of their service.
“You have all done a great job. You have been flexible, agile, open-minded and always with the words support in your mind,” he said.
“You should go home as proud of what you have achieved here as I am of you. I think you will find your families and Australia are proud of you as well.”
The Force Support Element provides theatre logistic support to Australian Defence Force operations across the Middle East and North Africa, including operations Accordion and Manitou in the Middle East region, Highroad in Afghanistan, Okra in Iraq, Mazurka in Egypt and Aslan in South Sudan.
Under the command of Australian Army officer, Major Kate Porter, Force Support Element-8 distributed 60 tonnes of mail to and from Australia, kitted and de-kitted about 1,500 Australian personnel moving into and out of theatre, issued and returned more than 260,000 rounds of ammunition, and moved more than 1,000 tonnes of cargo.
Fifty-four soldiers in the rotation were deployed for the first time.
One member had his fifth child and two members became engaged to their partners back in Australia.
Commander of Australian operations in the Middle East, Rear Admiral Jaimie Hatcher, AM, DSC, RAN also congratulated the team on a successful rotation.
“Australian Defence Force personnel across the Middle East, without exception, have commented on your professionalism, manner, tone and attitude to support the deployed task forces. You are the can-do Force Support Element,” he said.
Force Support Element-8 was made up of 77 soldiers mostly from the Army’s 3 Combat Service Support Battalion in Townsville, Queensland.
Force Support Element-9 is commanded by Major Dean Kachab. It is made up of 77 soldiers mostly from the 9th Force Support Battalion in Amberley, near Brisbane, and 10th Force Support Battalion in Townsville, with three Army reservists from the 2nd Force Support Battalion in Tasmania.