Australia — RWG 6 Completes Operations in Afghanistan

More than 60 mem­bers of Rotary Wing Group Six (RWG 6) returned home to Aus­tralia yes­ter­day (3 Novem­ber 2011) after eight months oper­at­ing two Aus­tralian Army CH-47D “Chi­nook” heli­copters in Afghanistan.

The Task Group, drawn main­ly from the Townsville-based 5th Avi­a­tion Reg­i­ment and across 16th Avi­a­tion Brigade, was embed­ded with the US 101st Com­bat Avi­a­tion Brigade, known as Task Force Lift, at Kan­da­har Air­field, from Feb­ru­ary this year. 

Com­mand­ing Offi­cer of RWG 6, Lieu­tenant Colonel Neil Mon­aghan said the deploy­ment had been a success. 

“I’m real­ly proud of my team, the way they’ve tak­en the chal­lenge to come here for eight months head-on with a min­i­mum of fuss,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Mon­aghan said. 

“I think they have done a fan­tas­tic job. We’ve achieved every­thing that our mis­sion set out for us to do.” 

The detach­ment oper­at­ed through­out Uruz­gan, Daykun­di, Kan­da­har and Zab­ul Provinces. 

RWG 6 Oper­a­tions Offi­cer, Cap­tain Luke Hod­da said over the deploy­ment, the Task Group exceed­ed 710 hours fly­ing time, con­duct­ed 135 com­bat mis­sions, trans­port­ed 5237 pas­sen­gers and moved approx­i­mate­ly 470,390 kilo­grams of freight, both inter­nal­ly and slung externally. 

“Eighty-five per cent of our work is com­bat ser­vice sup­port, mov­ing peo­ple and car­go around the bat­tle space,” Cap­tain Hod­da said. 

“How­ev­er, we have also pro­vid­ed sup­port to con­struc­tion of Afghan Nation­al Army check­points, two peri­ods of sup­port to Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group and con­duct­ed com­bat sup­port tasks such as air assaults with the US con­ven­tion­al infantry.” 

The low point of the RWG 6 rota­tion was the death of Aus­tralian Army avi­a­tor, Lieu­tenant Mar­cus Case, who was killed when one of the Chi­nooks crashed while under­tak­ing a re-sup­ply mis­sion in Zab­ul Province on 30 May 2011. 

“The loss of Mar­cus and air­craft 102, and the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of that, will affect every­one who was part of this detach­ment for the rest of their lives,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Mon­aghan said. 

For the first time since RWG began oper­a­tions in 2006, the Chi­nooks will remain in Kan­da­har over the Afghan win­ter for their sched­uled deep lev­el main­te­nance phase. 

RWG Sev­en will com­mence oper­a­tions in Afghanistan in Feb­ru­ary 2012. 

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

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