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Army March 15, 2012
SOTG personnel have marked the raising of the
Special Operations Engineer Regiment (SOER) with a
small ceremony at Camp Russell in Tarin Kot.
The SOER became the newest unit in the Army
after the Incident Response Regiment was retired from
the Army's Order of Battle on February 24.
To celebrate the occasion, SOTG CO Lt-Col J was
presented with a plaque from the members of SOER
currently serving in Afghanistan.
He said the SOER members were a vital part of the
"The SOER continues to play a vital role in deter-
ring and defeating threats and protecting Australia's
national security interests," he said.
"There is no doubt that the engineers from SOER,
and IRR before that, have saved countless Australian
The OC of SOER elements in Afghanistan, Capt K,
said the memories of the two IRR members killed in
Afghanistan, Spr Rowan Robinson and Sgt Brett Till,
would live on in the SOER.
"These two men were dedicated, professional and
selfless soldiers and the sacrifices they made will
always be remembered," Capt K said.
Full SOER feature pages 22-23
DESPITE the steady onset
of snow and sleet, Afghan
National Security Forces
(ANSF) and SOTG personnel
have maintained pressure on
insurgent networks in Uruzgan
Unlike previous winter peri-
ods, during which the number of
SOTG personnel was reduced,
the task force has maintained a
high operational tempo through-
out the winter of 2011-12, con-
centrating on disruption of sup-
plies, counter-narcotic and coun-
The concerted effort has
resulted in the removal of five
insurgent commanders from
Uruzgan province over a period
of six weeks.
JTF 633 commander Maj-
Gen Stuart Smith said the opera-
tions had degraded the ability of
insurgents to carry out attacks
"These are key leaders within
the insurgent network that oper-
ates throughout Uruzgan and
they are believed to be responsi-
ble for the facilitation and place-
ment of IEDs and for attacks on
ANSF, coalition and Australian
troops," he said.
"The SOTG has therefore
made a major contribution in
support of the overall mission
of preparing the Afghans to
assume security responsibilities
The insurgent command-
ers targeted held key leader-
ship positions within insurgent
networks in Uruzgan Province.
Collectively they were responsi-
ble for the procurement of IED-
making materials, the placement
of IEDs and for funding insur-
gent training in Afghanistan.
They were also believed to be
responsible for a number of
attacks on ANSF, international
partners and Australian troops
and bases across Uruzgan prov-
One of the detained insurgent
commanders led a network of
30-50 insurgents and was alleg-
edly responsible for kidnapping
and beating Afghan nationals.
Another insurgent commander
was allegedly responsible for the
wounding of an Australian sol-
dier and the death of a number
of ANSF soldiers during an IED
attack in 2011.
Throughout the operations,
ANSF and SOTG person-
nel have also discovered and
destroyed 120kg of heroin,
111kg of opium, 150kg of hash
and 3750kg of ammonium chlo-
ride.SOTG CO Lt-Col J said the
winter operations had been an
"This winter we have main-
tained significant pressure on
insurgent networks and denied
them the chance to regroup for
the summer fighting season," he
"The removal of five key
insurgent commanders from
Uruzgan province will directly
impact on their ability to con-
duct future operations.
"The removal of IED mak-
ers and facilitators will ensure
the safety of the local Afghans.
These IEDs are placed indis-
criminately and often target
The Afghan and Australian
partnered operations, which
remove insurgent leaders, sup-
plies and drugs, will affect the
insurgents' ability to reconstitute
and support future operations.
Special Forces keep
the heat on in winter WITH the snows falling in Uruzgan province,
Afghanistan, cricket in the depth of a bitter northern
winter is a pastime only for the madly dedicated.
Keen cricketers from FCU 6 stationed at
Multinational Base Tarin Kot have been dedicated
in their efforts to play pink cricket in the McGrath
Foundation's Pink Stumps Day.
This is the second Pink Stumps Day held by the
McGrath Foundation, which was co-founded by Jane
McGrath and her cricketing husband Glen after Jane's
initial recovery from breast cancer. The McGrath
Foundation raises money to place McGrath Breast
Cancer Nurses in communities to support Australian
families experiencing breast cancer.
Pink Stumps Day fundraisers were held in
Kandahar, Kabul, Tarin Kot, Qatar and even on board
Event organiser Flg-Off Alex Barbaro, of FCU 6,
was bowled over by the massive response from ADF
troops and coalition partners in getting behind the
"There would be few people who don't have a part-
ner, mother, sister or friend who has been affected by
breast cancer," he said.
"This event was a perfect opportunity to support
a charity that will in turn support women in our com-
To donate to the McGrath Foundation go to
Stumped: Cpl Joshua Hearn, of FCU 6, tests the
Pink Stumps equipment during a snow storm in
Tarin Kot, Afghanistan.
Photo by Sgt Mick Davis
Turning up the cold: Afghan and SOTG personnel have been keeping the pressure on insurgent networks throughout the Afghan
winter with a high tempo of raids and counter-leadership operations.
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