Australia — NSW Soldiers begin journey home from Solomon Islands

After four months of ser­vice in the Solomon Islands, mem­bers of the 5th Brigade (New South Wales) have begun their jour­ney home to Aus­tralia today.

Trooper Ross Spencer,Trooper Adrian Johan and Inspector Brian Palusi from the Correctional Services of the Solomon Islands (CSSI) conduct a routine perimeter patrol of the Rove Central Correctional Centre with local dogs leading, in the Solomon Islands.
Troop­er Ross Spencer,Trooper Adri­an Johan and Inspec­tor Bri­an Palusi from the Cor­rec­tion­al Ser­vices of the Solomon Islands (CSSI) con­duct a rou­tine perime­ter patrol of the Rove Cen­tral Cor­rec­tion­al Cen­tre with local dogs lead­ing, in the Solomon Islands.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

Des­ig­nat­ed Rota­tion 21, the 110 strong Reservist con­tin­gent has been on deploy­ment in the Solomon Islands since late March in sup­port of Oper­a­tion ANODE, the Aus­tralian Defence Force (ADF) con­tri­bu­tion to the Aus­tralian led Region­al Assis­tance Mis­sion to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

Rota­tion 21 is replaced by Rota­tion 22, drawn from the 4th Brigade (Vic­to­ria), whose mem­bers began arriv­ing in the Solomon Islands in late July. The offi­cial han­dover of duties was for­malised at a wel­come parade on 28 July at RAMSI Head­quar­ters where Ton­gan Defence Ser­vice sol­diers per­formed a “Chal­lenge Song” to wel­come the new Reservist contingent. 

“The Com­bined Task Force (CTF 635) con­sists of four troop con­tribut­ing nations and each of these nations brings its own cul­tur­al diver­si­ty to the CTF which makes it such a use­ful and diverse organ­i­sa­tion,” said Lieu­tenant Colonel David Thomp­son, Com­mand­ing Offi­cer CTF 635. 

“We have peo­ple from Papua New Guinea, Ton­ga, New Zealand and Aus­tralia and we always try and include that cul­tur­al diver­si­ty in any type of activ­i­ty we do. Incor­po­rat­ing a tra­di­tion­al Ton­gan greet­ing into the wel­come parade is a fan­tas­tic chance for the new rota­tion to see this cul­tur­al diver­si­ty first hand and give them a sense of what they are mov­ing into.” 

Signaler Pamela Burgess receives her Australian Service Medal (ASM) from Captain Helen Williams on parade in the Solomon Islands.
Sig­naler Pamela Burgess receives her Aus­tralian Ser­vice Medal (ASM) from Cap­tain Helen Williams on parade in the Solomon Islands.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

Mem­bers of out­go­ing Rota­tion 21 were lat­er for­mal­ly recog­nised for their ser­vice at a medal cer­e­mo­ny held at RAMSI Head­quar­ters on 2 August. 

“This has been an immense­ly reward­ing expe­ri­ence,” said Major Bri­an Will­sh­er, Head­quar­ters 5th Brigade. “We are all look­ing for­ward to going home and see­ing our friends and fam­i­ly. The Solomon Islands is a fan­tas­tic place and we have forged strong con­nec­tions with the local Solomon Island com­mu­ni­ty and will take back some fond mem­o­ries of our time here. We have con­tributed sig­nif­i­cant­ly to RAMSI and its’ mis­sion and we are very proud to be hand­ing the baton to Rota­tion 22.” 

This is the 3rd rota­tion that Lieu­tenant Colonel David Thomp­son has com­mand­ed dur­ing his tenure as Com­man­der CTF 635 and he admits that the end of each rota­tion is always an emo­tion­al time. 

“It is both a sad time, and a glad time. Sad because you work so close­ly with these peo­ple for such a long peri­od of time day in and day out – 12, 14 hour days. You become very close in a very short peri­od of time and the mate­ship and ethos of the Army real­ly shines,” he said. 

“It is also very impor­tant to con­vey to the old rota­tion how invalu­able their work here has been. The Roy­al Solomon Island Police Force (RSIPF) Com­man­der, the Spe­cial Co-coor­di­na­tor of RAMSI and the Com­man­der of the Par­tic­i­pat­ing Police Forces (PPF) have been very con­grat­u­la­to­ry of Rota­tion 21’s per­for­mance. They have done a fan­tas­tic job.” 

A wel­come home parade will be con­duct­ed for the return­ing mem­bers of Rota­tion 21, 5 Brigade (New South Wales) at 09:30am, Fri­day, 6 August 2010 at Holswor­thy Bar­racks, Sydney. 

Note to edi­tors: More than 30 of the Army Reserve sol­diers are from the 1st/19th Roy­al New South Wales Reg­i­ment, which is based in cen­tral and south­ern NSW. The Reserve sol­diers come from a diverse range of civil­ian occu­pa­tions includ­ing police, uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, pub­lic ser­vants and school teachers. 

More than 30 of the sol­diers are from the 4th/3rd Roy­al New South Wales Reg­i­ment, which draws its man-pow­er from Sydney’s west and south­ern sub­urbs, as well as the Illawar­ra region and Can­ber­ra. The sol­diers come from a diverse range of civil­ian occu­pa­tions includ­ing police, uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, pub­lic ser­vants and school teachers. 

More than 30 of the Army Reservists are from the Par­ra­mat­ta-based 1st/15th Roy­al New South Wales Lancers, which has com­plet­ed its largest deploy­ment of troops since World War Two. The sol­diers come from a diverse range of civil­ian occu­pa­tions includ­ing police, uni­ver­si­ty stu­dents, pub­lic ser­vants and school teachers. 

Media con­tact: Cap­tain M. J. Brooke 0411203551 

Media con­tact: Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664 

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

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