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29 May 2008
Combat Team Waler stays focused on security tasks

As the Overwatch Battle Group commences its drawdown, Diggers from Combat Team Waler continue daily patrols to counter the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) threat in Southern Iraq.

The diggers have been conducting mounted and dismounted patrols and vehicle check points with the Iraqi Security Force. The vehicle check points also provide a training bonus, allowing the Australians to mentor and assessing the ISF’s overall security skills.

The soldiers have also been busy conducting handover liaison with the US soldiers who will soon take responsibility for ‘overwatch’ security in Dhi Qar and Al Muthanna.

The patrols, in coordination with US, coalition and ISF have reduced the IED threat to all time lows in the region.

The Australian troops are well advanced on their pack-up and are on track to return to Australia mid-year, in line with the Government’s election commitment.

The 516 soldiers of Overwatch Battle Group (West) 4 are mostly drawn from units of the Brisbane-based 7th Brigade. The Battle Group is comprised of the headquarters and cavalry squadrons of the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry), operating Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAVs); an Infantry company from the 6th Battalion of The Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) operating Bushmaster Infantry Mobility Vehicles (IMVs); and specialists from the 7th Combat Services Support Battalion.

OBG(W) 4 is based at Tallil Air Base from where it undertakes a security overwatch role for Al Muthanna and Dhi Qar Provinces as part of a larger Coalition Force.

The security role supports the Iraqi Security Forces’ (ISF) and Provincial Government’s efforts to build a secure and stable Iraq. In this role OBG(W) 4 undertakes security patrols, develops ISF capabilities and supports reconstruction and rehabilitation projects. OBG(W) 4 operates as part of the Multi National Force - Iraq (MNF - I).