Australia — Command change for Solomon Islands military contingent

After a suc­cess­ful thir­teen month rota­tion, Lieu­tenant Colonel David Thomp­son has hand­ed over Com­mand of the 240-strong mil­i­tary secu­ri­ty con­tin­gent in sup­port of the Region­al Assis­tance Mis­sion in the Solomon Islands (RAMSI) – known as Oper­a­tion ANODE.

He hand­ed over the reins to incom­ing Com­man­der, Can­ber­ra-based Lieu­tenant Colonel Paul Land­ford, fol­low­ing the con­duct of the Nation­al Gen­er­al Elections. 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Thomp­son was the first Com­mand­ing Offi­cer to under­take a twelve month deploy­ment. A West­ern Aus­tralian Reservist from the Head­quar­ters 13th Brigade at Irwin Bar­racks in Perth, he was respon­si­ble for three sep­a­rate con­tin­gent rota­tions, involv­ing four troop con­tribut­ing nations. 

He also over­saw RAMSI’s secu­ri­ty sup­port to the 2010 Nation­al Gen­er­al Elec­tions in the Solomon Islands, work­ing close­ly with the Par­tic­i­pat­ing Police Force and Roy­al Solomon Islands Police Force to ensure a com­pre­hen­sive secu­ri­ty plan was in place. Lieu­tenant Colonel Thomp­son coor­di­nat­ed addi­tion­al sup­port from the ADF, the New Zealand Defence Force and the Ton­ga Defence Service. 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Thomp­son expe­ri­enced a range of envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges includ­ing tsunamis, earth­quakes and floods. He also faced a num­ber of secu­ri­ty chal­lenges such as civ­il unrest dur­ing his deploy­ment. He said the oppor­tu­ni­ty to lead an over­seas oper­a­tion and work with oth­er nations was a career highlight. 

“I have expe­ri­enced work­ing with the four troop con­tribut­ing nations includ­ing New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Ton­ga and formed strong bonds with each of them,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Thomp­son said. 

“To be able to com­mand such a mul­ti-nation­al force has been an excit­ing chal­lenge. It is amaz­ing to be able to sit down and have a brew with a sec­tion from Ton­ga or Papua New Guinea and find that sol­diers from all around the world are amaz­ing­ly similar. ” 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Thomp­son returned to Aus­tralia at the weekend. 

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Australia 

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