Reservists off to help a neighbour
LISMORE'S 41st Battalion joined fellow reservists at Victoria Barracks in Sydney yesterday for a farewell parade before the NSW Governor ahead of their eight-month deployment to Timor-Leste.
The 37 soldiers from the 41st will help make up a 170-strong force of combat, combat support, logistic and administration troops due to ship out in early June.
The 41st Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Graham Ruhle, said it was one of the biggest and longest deployments in the history of the reservists.
“It is a very important occurrence for the Army Reserve as it's one of the largest, potentially the largest, commitments to an operationaldeployment to date,” he said.
“There have been some similar-sized deployments to East Timor but this is (the reservists) biggest contribution so far.”
The 41st Battalion is part of the 8th Brigade comprising predominately reservists from Northern NSW and Sydney.
The Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, joined family and friends farewelling the soldiers.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contingent deploying,” he said.
“Timor-Leste Task Group 3 will be a credit to our nation and continue to bring safety and security to Australia's region.”
The reviewing officer, Commander 1st Division, Major General Rick Burr, said the farewell event was a fitting occasion to acknowledge the efforts of all involved.
“Thanks must also go to the large number of Army personnel who have provided the essential training and support required to prepare the contingent,” he said.
NSW Governor Professor Marie Bashir officiated as Honorary Colonel of the Royal New South WalesRegiment.
Lieutenant Colonel Ruhle said that while he would miss his troops, they were already preparing to train another 22 reservist recruits for a possible deployment to the Solomon Islands next year.
“The work's there to be had, and there's plenty of work once they are trained,” he said, adding that anyone interested in the reserve can call 131901 and ask about joining the 41st.