Stars Awarded for Service
19 October 2015
Australian Army members of the 205th Corps Advisory Team (205 CAT) have been recognised by the United States for their meritorious service in a combat zone.
The United States Bronze Star Medal has been awarded to seven senior advisors in the 205 CAT, together with one Meritorious Service Medal and nine Army Commendation Medals.
The Australian-led 205 CAT provided advice, training and assistance to the Afghan National Army's 205th Corps personnel based at Camp Hero in Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Commander of the U.S. led Train, Advise, and Assist Command – South (TAAC-S), Brigadier General Paul Bontrager said the medal presentation was an important acknowledgement for a job well done.
"The Australians provide input in a manner that frankly, I don’t think any other nation can do," he said.
"They have frankness, candour, and an ability to operate at the correct level and put the needs of others ahead of their own.
"It is a significant thing that the Australians bring to the fore."
Commander of the seventh and final 205 CAT rotation, Colonel Mitchell Kent said the Australian advisors were honoured to receive the awards.
"It's been a pleasure to work with the Train, Advise and Assist Command – South," he said.
"We've appreciated the freedom of action as well as the cooperation and support from the leadership team.
"This is a significant honour they have chosen to bestow upon us, and I thank them for their friendship and camaraderie."
Under Australian guidance, the Afghan National Army 205th Corps has grown to a divisional sized formation with four manoeuvre brigades and approximately 19,000 troops.
The corps is responsible for the southern provinces of Kandahar, Uruzgan, Daykundi and Zabul, comprising of 42 Districts covering an area of 98,800 square km and a population of approximately 12.51 million.
In its five-year history, the 205 CAT grew to approximately 20 Australian advisors and a Force Protection Element of around 60 Australian personnel, joined by a smaller contingent of U.S. and Bulgarian advisors and interpreters.
On October 1st, 2015, the 205 CAT ended its mission in Southern Afghanistan after seven successful rotations since April 2010.