Chapter Four - Outcome Performance > Outcome One: Command of Operations > Special Feature: Task Force 58
| |

montage of Defence imagery
Operation Catalyst - Navy Capabilities | Special Feature

Task Force 58

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officer, Commodore Steve Gilmore, CSC, RAN.
Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officer, Commodore Steve Gilmore, CSC, RAN.

In February 2005, the Government approved the deployment to the Northern Persian Gulf of a RAN headquarters staff member to assume duties as the Commander of coalition Task Force 58. Commodore S.R. Gilmore, CSC, RAN took command of Task Force 58 in April 2005 embarking in the United States Navy cruiser USS Antietam. In doing so, Commodore Gilmore became the first non-United States officer to command the Task Force. It was also one of the most senior operational sea commands exercised by a RAN officer since World War II.

Responsible for all coalition maritime security operations across the Northern Persian Gulf, specific tasks allocated to Task Force 58 included the protection of key oil infrastructure, maritime interception operations (that sought to detect and deny the use of the sea by criminals and terrorists), anti-piracy activity and regional engagement.

The Task Force 58 area of operations holds the key to the economic recovery of Iraq. The oil platforms are critical and the oil flowing through them accounts for 80 per cent of Iraq's Gross Domestic Product. This fact has been previously recognised as evidenced by the coordinated attack in April 2004, which tragically resulted in the deaths of three United States servicemen.

The cruiser USS Antietam (flagship for Commander Task Force 58, Commodore S.R. Gilmore) patrols in the vicinity of the vital Iraqi Al Basra oil terminal.
The cruiser USS Antietam (flagship for Commander Task Force 58, Commodore S.R. Gilmore) patrols in the vicinity of the vital Iraqi Al Basra oil terminal.

Commensurate with the highly important mission of Task Force 58, it is assigned considerable capability. Around ten coalition warships were allocated to the Task Force with up to 1,700 coalition personnel under Australian command. While focused on protection of the oil platforms, Task Force 58 was also responsible for integration of the Iraqi Navy and their subsequent self-maintenance of security in Iraqi territorial waters.

In pursuit of this goal, Task Force 58 and staff were instrumental in the development and promulgation of an Iraqi Navy Transition Roadmap. This initiative now serves as the foundation document that guides, measures and certifies the progress of Iraqi units. It has been highly successful with Iraqi patrol boats now fully integrated and Marines undergoing phased progression of oil terminal point defence.

The Australian-led Task Force achieved its mission commendably and made significant progress over the entire range of tasks assigned.

Commodore Gilmore co-signs the Iraqi Navy Transition Roadmap with the Iraqi Navy Operational Commander, Captain Adel, aboard the Task Force 58 flagship.
Commodore Gilmore co-signs the Iraqi Navy Transition Roadmap with the Iraqi Navy Operational Commander, Captain Adel, aboard the Task Force 58 flagship.

| | « Previous | Home | Next » |