Earlier this week the Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, hosted a visit to Canberra by General Peter van Uhm, the Netherlands Chief of Defence.
During the visit, General van Uhm presented Air Chief Marshal Houston with the Royal Order of Orange Nassau in the rank of Commander with Swords on behalf of the Netherlands Government.
The award was made in the presence of His Excellency Mr Willem Andreae, the Ambassador for the Netherlands.
“The Decoration has been awarded in appreciation of Air Chief Marshal Houston’s dedicated efforts as the Chief of Defence Force, particularly during the period of close cooperation between Australian and Dutch forces in Uruzgan Province in Afghanistan,” General van Uhm said.
“Air Chief Marshal Houston was instrumental to the mutual understanding, respect, trust and synergy between the Dutch and Australian units in Uruzgan.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said he was greatly humbled to accept the Order of Orange Nassau.
“I thank General Peter van Uhm, Ambassador Willem Andreae and the Kingdom of the Netherlands for this wonderful honour,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“I note this order is in recognition of my involvement in supporting Dutch Operations in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2010. I therefore consider it a reflection upon the professionalism and dedication of the men and women of the Australian Defence Force who worked alongside the Dutch in Uruzgan Province.
“And I want to take this opportunity to thank General van Uhm for the valuable leadership role played by his military in Uruzgan Province.
“During the four years of Dutch command, you were great partners. I know that our people enjoyed an excellent relationship with your people and they worked closely to provide security and deliver reconstruction and community-based projects.”
General van Uhm is visiting Australia to discuss defence cooperation in a range of areas, including in defence reform, capability and materiel.
“Notwithstanding the end of our cooperation in Afghanistan, our shared interests in global security continue to be a driver for collaboration with the Netherlands,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
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