Australian Defence personnel serving in the Middle East Area of Operations will welcome a new commander today. After 12 months at the helm, Major General Angus Campbell AM, will formally hand over command of Australian Defence Force Joint Task Force 633 to Major General Stuart Smith AM.
Commander Joint Task Force 633 commands all ADF units assigned to Operation SLIPPER – Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.
ADF personnel and coalition partners marked the formal transition of Command with a ceremony at Al Minhad Air Base in the United Arab Emirates.
Major General Campbell described leading Australian troops deployed to the Middle East and Afghanistan as the pinnacle of his career and commended the efforts of the service men and women he had met during his time as Commander.
“I will never forget the sacrifice made by the fallen; the compassion, dedication and courage of our soldiers, sailors and airmen who have served their country with distinction. I am very proud of each and every one of them,” Major General Campbell said.
“The Australian mission is on track, and while we have suffered losses grievously felt, there is no question that the campaign is advancing, although much still needs to be done.”
“I reflect on 2011 as a challenging yet clearly successful year for the international mission in Afghanistan.”
Major General Campbell said that during his appointment he had observed significant progress in Uruzgan Province, where the majority of ADF personnel are deployed.
“I welcome Major General Smith, and know he will lead Australian troops with distinction,” he said
Major General Smith congratulated the outgoing commander on a successful tour and thanked him for his hard work and dedication.
“It has been a great privilege to assume command of a Task Force that has contributed so much to security in the region under the guidance of Major General Campbell,” Major General Smith said.
“I look forward to continuing this work during 2012, with our main effort being the training and development of the Afghan National Security Forces to assume responsibility for Uruzgan Province by 2014, possibly earlier.”
On return to Australia, Major General Campbell will take a well deserved period of leave before assuming the role of Deputy Chief of Army.
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