For the first time since 2002, the Australian Defence Force (ADF) will deploy an Army Reserve force element of company size to East Timor, Senator David Feeney, Parliamentarty Secretary for Defence, said today.
“Army Reservists are currently deployed and serving with distinction in East Timor, the Solomon Islands and Afghanistan. This contingent continues a proud history of Reservists providing effective service in East Timor and in many other locations, as part of Australian Defence Force operations,” Senator Feeney said.
The 160-strong Reserve contingent will deploy this month to assist in the provision of security and reaction tasks in support of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) and East Timorese Government.
The soldiers will largely come from Queensland-based 11 Brigade, one of six Army Reserve Brigades within the Army’s 2nd Division. Colonel Michael Reilly from 11 Brigade will take command of the ISF in East Timor. The 11 Brigade contribution of a rifle company group plus headquarters staff and logistic support troops will be integrated into the existing force structure of the ISF, assuming the full responsibilities of the regular army group they replace.
Commander 2nd Division, Major General Craig Williams, welcomed the increase in Reservists deployed in the next rotation.
“Until this rotation, about 30 Reserve Force personnel have been serving in East Timor — approximately eight per cent of the total ADF strength in East Timor. In the next rotation, about 40 per cent of personnel serving in East Timor will be Reserve members,” Major General Williams said.
“The deployment of this Reserve Force element demonstrates the confidence the ADF holds in its Reserve Force as a well trained, ready, capable and integrated force. The deployment affirms the complementary relationship between the Regular Army and the Reserve – a relationship that enables the Regular Army to meet designated tasks and ensures the Army is balanced to meet the greatest range of contingencies,” said General Williams.
Army Reserve personnel have been part of the ADF’s contribution to East Timor since military operations commenced in 1999. This commitment to Operation ASTUTE builds on the successful ongoing involvement of Army Reservists in Operation ANODE in the Solomon Islands, which commenced in 2006.
The 11 Brigade has units located throughout Queensland. Army Reserve soldiers involved in the deployment have been drawn mainly from the 9th, 31st/42nd and 25th/49th Battalions of the Royal Queensland Regiment. Most of the soldiers involved are from Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton, Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast, Brisbane and surrounding districts, and Toowoomba.
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