Deploying to the Middle East

      OC FPE-8 MAJ Sam Thackray

TOWNSVILLE troops ready to deploy to the Middle East were officially farewelled at a Lavarack Barracks parade last month.
COMD 1Div MAJGEN Paul McLachlan farewelled members of the eighth rotation of the Force Protection Element and the fifth rotation of the Theatre Communications Group.
FPE-8 will be commanded by MAJ Sam Thackray and its members have been drawn from 13 different Army units, but most are from 3RAR and other 3Bde units.
TCG-5 commanded by LTCOL Edmund Wunsch is a tri-service group of communications specialists drawn from units around the country.
The FPE will provide security and protected mobility support for ADF elements in and around Kabul, Afghanistan including trainers and mentors at The Afghanistan National Army Officer Academy (ANAOA) and the Kabul Garrison Command-Advisory Team (KGC-AT).
TCG-5, headquartered at Al Minhad Airbase in the United Arab Emirates, will be spread out in small groups throughout the Middle East theatre to ensure continuity and security of communications and information systems support to coalition operations throughout the region.
MAJGEN McLachlan said each detachment was essential to other Australians and allied forces operating in the Middle East Theatre.
He said the FPE would be responsible for keeping Australians working in the area out of trouble, and, if things did go wrong, they would be responsible for getting them out of trouble.
“In any military operation, the imperative for robust and reliable communications networks is right up there with the most critical mission requirements,” MAJGEN McLachlan said.
“Members of TCG-5 will be charged with the responsibility to connect all Australian forces to command nodes throughout the Middle East and by satellite link back to Australia.”
LTCOL Wunsch said ensuring deployed troops could keep in contact with their families in Australia was very much a priority.


CO TCG-5 LTCOL Edmund Wunsch

COMD 1Div MAJGEN Paul McLachlan

MAJGEN Paul Mclachlan inspects the parade, escorted by CO TCG-5 LTCOL Edmund Wunsch

RAAF POWER… (from left) LAC Milan Thapa, LAC Mohammad Qasim, LAC Variusz Skiesi, WOFF Kael Francis, LAC Patrick Helps, LACW Keesha von Stieglitz, LAC Brenton Finn, SGT Chris Hodgetts, CPL Emma Groth and CPL Jason Shields

CPL Nick and Vicky Guion with Chelsea, 7, Hunter, 10 and Zade, 10

CPL Mark Long with parents Johanna and Arnold

LCPL Chris and Ashlee Perry with Olivia, 2 and Austin, 4

LT Thomas Flanagan, parents Jill and Russell and Cassie Holmes

CAPT Marc Triaconas and parents Yvonne and Bill