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December 15, 2016
CA LT-GEN Angus Campbell
and CJOPS VAdm David
Johnston visited the men and
women of Task Group Taji in
Iraq on November 14.
The two senior ADF officers
were accompanied by RSM-A
WO Don Spinks and all saw how
Australian service personnel are
supporting the coalition mission
to train the Iraqi Army.
Lt-Gen Campbell said he was
impressed with the achievements
of the multinational task group.
“I see what you’re doing here,
and I see the operations going on
up near Mosul,” Lt-Gen Campbell
“There is a very clear contri-
bution being made to the future
of Iraq, defined by its people and
assisted by us.
“That’s something of which
you should all be very proud.”
VAdm Johnston told the
assembled personnel they should
be proud of their achievements as
they approached the end of their
“Speaking with the Iraqi Army
commanders here at the Taji
Military Complex, as well as with
the coalition team in Baghdad,
there is a very clear apprecia-
tion that collectively you have
made a substantial difference to
the lives of the Iraqi officers and
soldiers you have trained,” VAdm
“What stands out for me is
the quantity of training you have
been expected to deliver as part of
the Mosul surge and the counter-
attack that is under way.”
The third rotation of Task
Group Taji, which includes
about 300 Australians, 100 New
Zealanders and 80 Britons, has
trained more than 8000 Iraqi
Capt James Hook
SAPPERS from 6ESR have led the upgrade of a
military training facility for Iraq’s elite Counter-
Terrorism Service (CTS).
The project is part of Australia’s continued support
for Iraq as it combats the threat from Daesh.
Australian Ambassador to Iraq Christopher Langman
watched CTS soldiers demonstrate their skills at an
event to mark the completion of the project.
“The range is an important and practical example of
Australia’s contribution to Iraq’s fight against Daesh,”
Mr Langman said.
“We work very closely with the Iraqi government to
ensure what we do makes a difference.
“We have already made major contributions to the
humanitarian operation in Iraq.
“There are more than three million displaced people
in the country, and there are concerns that we will see
many more as a result of the battle for Mosul.”
Iraq’s CTS receives military advice and assistance
from the Special Operations Task Group (SOTG).
“We will use the refurbished range when we train the
next CTS platoon,” a SOTG corporal said.
“Live firing is part of the course we deliver to ensure
CTS members are mission-ready.
“Our goal is quality not quantity as we train the sol-
diers in urban and rural movement, and close-quarter
“At the end of the course, we select the best soldiers
to serve as assistant instructors to the next platoon.”
Deputy Commander JTF633 Brig Neil Sweeney
joined Maj-Gen Fallah, of the CTS, to watch the lat-
est graduating platoon demonstrate an urban clearance
“The CTS has been at the forefront of the liberation
of Ramadi and Fallujah,” Brig Sweeney said.
“Now it is spearheading the liberation of Mosul.
“In the future I would expect it to focus on its origi-
nal function of countering terrorist activities and secur-
ing the sovereignty of Iraq.”
The upgraded training facility will allow the SOTG
to better instruct Iraqi Special Forces in a number of
courses. It consists of four assault ranges located in the
Iraqi CTS barracks, adjacent to Baghdad International
The project was funded by the Australian government
and managed by a construction team from 6ESR.
WO2 Daniel George led the engineering team and
said the original ranges were overgrown, prone to flood-
ing and had poor-quality structures, including exposed
concrete and rock in the bullet catch areas.
“The rehabilitation works included stripping away
organic material, reconstructing the berms, redoing the
falls, replacing the T-walls, installing drainage and lay-
ing crushed limestone gravel,” WO2 George said.
“The result is a series of three-sided all-weather
Australia’s support to Iraq comes at the request of the
Iraqi and US governments.
Building capability in Iraq
Australia upgrades counter-terrorism training facility for elite Iraqi troops
Senior leaders visit deployed troops
CA Lt-Gen Angus
and RSM-A WO
right, show the
the features of a
soldiers in five months. This
includes five Iraqi Army brigades
of around 1200 soldiers each, two
of which were trained simultane-
ously to prepare them for the bat-
tle for Mosul.
Task Group Taji personnel,
drawn from all three services,
have delivered a range of train-
ing including weapons handling,
marksmanship, combat first aid,
explosives hazard awareness,
building clearances and obstacle
They have also provided
instruction in the tactics, tech-
niques and procedures for squad-
to-company-level operations for
use in the fight against Daesh.
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