Amberley force on mission
AN AMBERLEY-based squadron made history this week as the first RAAF ground combat force deployed to Afghanistan.
Sixty-five personnel from the combat support group's two Airfield Defence Squadron left from Brisbane for Afghanistan's notoriously dangerous Tarin Kowt region last week.
They will perform the vital task of protecting the Tarin Kowt base, home to 5000 multi-national troops.
The task was previously performed by Slovakian troops, but a change of government lead to a change in their role within Afghanistan.
Air Commodore Tim Innes said the squadron had three months of intensive training, adapting to the communication and the layout of the buildings they would protect.
He is under no illusions of the danger they will face while on deployment.
"It's a known insurgent area. It's a high-risk and dangerous place," he said. "We were given notice three months ago and they have been undergoing training until they left."
Air Commodore Innes said there was a mixture of emotions at the farewell.
"They were very excited but there was some trepidation with the risk of the task. But there is a professional camaraderie to go over there with their mates who they have been training with for a long time."
With Christmas approaching, some of the personnel will return home for the holiday season.
With two newborn babies in the squadron, Air Commodore Innes said they worked out among themselves the personnel who will make the trip home.
- 65 personnel left for a seven-month deployment in Tarin Kowt.
- The squadron performed the same task in Dili, East Timor in 2006.
- The Tarin Kowt base is home to 5000 multi-national troops.