Chapter One > Year in Review > Operation Anode

Year in Review

Operation Anode

Operation Anode is the ADF's contribution to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The overall RAMSI undertaking is known as Operation Helpem Fren.

The ADF deployed to the Solomon Islands in July 2003 in support of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Protective Service and Australian Government civilian officials. The contingent's first priority was to restore law and order but it has subsequently assisted the Solomon Islands' Government to reform its key institutions.

ADF personnel including elements from the 2nd Battalion Royal Australian Regiment, the Navy's minehunter vessels and the Air Force's Caribou detachment worked with forces from Fiji, Tonga, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea.

The workload for military personnel deployed to RAMSI was heavy with many working 18-hour days for the duration of their deployment.

A C-130 Hercules aircraft delivers supplies to Henderson Airfield, Honiara.

The high incidence of illegal firearm possession in the Solomon Islands also meant Australian soldiers operated under significant danger. Local conditions also posed significant challenges. Four members of one patrol, for example, were swept out to sea - and subsequently rescued by locals in a canoe - after attempting to cross a fastflowing river mouth.

When RAMSI personnel arrived in the Solomon Islands, years of ethnic tension, gang-related violence and police corruption had undermined law and order and the Government's legitimacy. Within a year, RAMSI has significantly restored public confidence in the Solomon Islands' Government through arrests of key militants and the confiscation and public destruction of over 3,700 firearms.

The improved security situation has allowed the phased withdrawal of military forces and the transition to contracted administrative and logistic support for the Australian Federal Police. A smaller combined ADF and regional military force, including an infantry platoon on quick reaction force duties, remains in the Solomon Islands in support of the continuing police-led activities.

The focus of RAMSI has shifted from restoring law and order to building durable governance mechanisms and stimulating economic growth. This is an endeavour the Australian Government will continue to support by providing specialist contributions to RAMSI designed to advance reforms in health, infrastructure, policing, justice and economic and financial management.

A Seaking helicopter from HMAS Manoora delivers a vehicle to police and military personnel establishing a police presence in a village on the remote Weathercoast on 4 August 2003. Two Seaking helicopters worked throughout the day flying 36 sorties and delivering 30 tonnes of stores.
RAMSI military personnel destroy weapons during a ceremony at Marau, south east of Honiara on the last day of the Solomon Islands gun amnesty on 21 August 2003.
Captain Angela Devlin, an Australian Army nursing officer, has a few quiet words with a young patient at the Solomon Islands' main hospital in Honiara. RAMSI military personnel destroy weapons during a ceremony at Marau, south east of Honiara on the last day of the Solomon Islands gun amnesty on 21 August 2003.
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