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Final Solomon Islands infantry rotation returns home

Strapped in and ready to go, members from Combined Task Force 635 on a No. 36 Squadron C-17 bound for home on completion of their deployment.

The final rotation of Australian infantry personnel have completed their mission with the Regional Assistance Mission Solomon Islands (RAMSI) and returned home from Operation ANODE.

About 90 Army Reserve personnel mostly from Victoria’s 4th Brigade arrived home on an Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft on 1 August 2013 ending the 30th rotation of Australian personnel to the Pacific nation.

Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Ash Power said their return home from the Australian-led Joint Task Force, which included personnel from New Zealand, Tonga and Papua New Guinea, capped a successful mission by Rotation 30.

“These soldiers have performed extremely well during their deployment and their return home as part of the final infantry rotation deployed to Solomon Islands shows the big steps forward that have been made in improving security and stability,” Lieutenant General Power said.

“All of these Reserve personnel have taken at least four months out of their lives, away from their families and away from their civilian jobs to serve Australia and lend a hand to our Pacific neighbours.

“They have done an outstanding job, just as those who have contributed since 2003, as part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands have done. 

“After a successful 10-year commitment to RAMSI, the country is now secure and stable enough for the military element to leave Solomon Islands. 

“I wish all those remaining as an element of the AFP-led Participating Police Force every success as they continue their vital work with the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force,” Lieutenant General Power said. 

The personnel were farewelled from Honiara by the Commander of Combined Task Force 635, Lieutenant Colonel Brenton Gasteen, who congratulated the troops on a job well done.

“Your mission is now complete and you can be proud of your efforts in Solomon Islands and the hard work that each and every one of you displayed during your rotation,” Lieutenant Colonel Gasteen said.

“You can go home to your families and friends with an enormous sense of satisfaction that we are leaving Solomon Islands in a good state.”

A Defence element has remained in the Solomon Islands to prepare military equipment to return to Australia.