Australien — New command for the First Mentoring Task Force

The Com­mand­ing Offi­cer (CO) of the First Men­tor­ing Task Force (MTF‑1) Lieu­tenant Colonel Jason Blain has hand­ed over com­mand to Lieu­tenant Colonel Mark Jen­nings dur­ing a cer­e­mo­ny at the Mul­ti Nation­al Base in Tarin Kowt.

MTF‑1 is com­prised of ele­ments of the Aus­tralian Army’s Bris­bane-based 7th Brigade, with sup­port ele­ments drawn from the Roy­al Aus­tralian Navy and Roy­al Aus­tralian Air Force. 

The out­go­ing CO thanked his troops and said he was extreme­ly proud of their accom­plish­ments under his command. 

“It was a great priv­i­lege to be able to lead so many fine Aus­tralians,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Blain said. 

“To watch what the men and women of the unit did every­day, putting them­selves in harm’s way and work­ing side-by-side with their Afghan Nation­al Army (ANA) coun­ter­parts, nev­er ceased to impress me. 

“The major achieve­ment was the expan­sion of our men­tor­ing and part­ner­ing effects, espe­cial­ly tak­ing over the Oper­a­tional Men­tor and Liai­son Team of the 4th ANA Brigade Head­quar­ters and the 5th Com­bat Sup­port Ser­vice ANA Kandak.” 

More recent­ly, MTF‑1 expand­ed its respon­si­bil­i­ties by tak­ing over the men­tor­ing of the 1st Kan­dak at Deh Rawood. 

Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said he was priv­i­leged to be tak­ing over com­mand of the hard work­ing and suc­cess­ful Task Force. 

“I have two main goals for MTF1; tran­si­tion­ing to the Com­bined Team Uruz­gan (CT‑U) from Task Force Uruz­gan (TF‑U); and main­tain­ing the focus on the men­tor­ing and part­ner­ing aspects with the ANA and civil­ians,” Lieu­tenant Colonel Jen­nings said. 

“We also need to pre­pare for our future tran­si­tion and relief-in-place with the Sec­ond Men­tor­ing Task Force (MTF2).”

Com­man­der Joint Task Force 633 Major Gen­er­al John Cantwell acknowl­edged the untir­ing work of Lieu­tenant Colonel Jason Blain and his Reg­i­men­tal Sergeant Major (RSM), War­rant Offi­cer Class 1 Stephan Col­man, as the MTF‑1 com­mand team hand­ed over. 

“Com­mand of com­bat oper­a­tions impos­es relent­less demands on the leader, par­tic­u­lar­ly in an envi­ron­ment as com­plex and dan­ger­ous as Afghanistan,” Major Gen­er­al Cantwell said. 

“Lieu­tenant Colonel Blain’s peri­od as Com­mand­ing Offi­cer has exem­pli­fied the best char­ac­ter­is­tics of com­bat command—an unre­lent­ing mis­sion focus, a broad and nuanced under­stand­ing of the bat­tle­space, a marked tac­ti­cal flair and above all, the pur­suit of every pos­si­ble means to keep his sol­diers safe while they car­ry out their dan­ger­ous tasks. 

“He and RSM Col­man have lived the mot­to of the Roy­al Aus­tralian Regiment—Duty First—demanding of them­selves the high­est stan­dards, accept­ing with­out ques­tion total respon­si­bil­i­ty for the safe­ty and wel­fare of their sol­diers, shar­ing the dan­gers with them and car­ry­ing the par­tic­u­lar grief of the com­man­der over loss­es and wounds. 

“I remain deeply grate­ful for their con­tri­bu­tion to our mis­sion in Afghanistan.” 

Major Gen­er­al Cantwell also wel­comed the new com­mand team of Lieu­tenant Colonel Mark Jen­nings and War­rant Offi­cer Class 1 Brett Brown. 

“The com­ing months will present a mul­ti­tude of chal­lenges and you will be test­ed time and again. 

“I am con­fi­dent you will succeed.” 

Media Con­tact: Defence Media Liai­son: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664 

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

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