New Name for Enduring Flyers
19 October 2015
Air Force's enduring presence in the Middle East has been assigned a new name and a Task Group badge, reflecting the dynamic nature of their essential task.
Formerly know as the Air Component Coordination Element – Middle East Region, the C-130J Hercules aircraft intra-theatre transport group assigned to the region is now called the Air Mobility Task Group (AMTG).
The new title allows the AMTG to stand alongside other tasks groups assigned to the region, such as Task Group Afghanistan, Task Group Taji and the Air Task Group.
While the AMTG is C-130J-focused, other aircraft such as the C-17 Globemaster III strategic transport aircraft are assigned to the task group when need arises.
Wing Commander Scott Wardle, the AMTG's Commander, said the new name reflects the change in scope for the organisation.
"The Task Group has been in-theatre for over a decade, however with the departure of the AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft and the Heron unmanned aerial vehicles to Australia our focus is now on air mobility," he said.
The new name also highlights the increased operational tempo for the transport aircraft following the assignment to operations in Iraq of the Air Task Group, Task Group Taji and the Special Operations Task Group.
Support to these groups must be conducted while keeping the flow of personnel and supplies into Afghanistan to sustain Defence's presence in the land-locked country.
The AMTG also flies to other countries in the region, as witnessed by the recommencement of Hercules aircraft flights back into the Sinai in support of Australian troops assigned to the Multinational Force and Observers monitoring the Israel-Egypt peace agreement.
Wing Commander Wardle said the expansion of destinations over the last 12 months had added new challenges to the assigned aircrews.
"With the commencement of Operation Okra last year we are primarily operating into two countries with distinct differences in terrain and threats to the aircraft," he said.
"There's a real variety in locations and the risks involved."
While the AMTG label has been in place for two months, it was at a recent parade that the new unit patch was presented to aircrew and support personnel.
Wing Commander Wardle said the badge, designed by former unit member Sergeant Xavier Sherriff, is rich in symbology.
"The patch depicts a Golden Eagle, which is indigenous to the Middle East region," Wing Commander Wardle said.
"The Eagle stands proud before a globe, overlayed with the Southern Cross centred on the Middle East.
"The eagle is a traditional symbol of air power and underlines our strength and our ability to remain aloft for extended periods of time."