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New Zealand Defence Force Troops Return From Iraq

Personnel from the building partner capacity mission in Iraq return to Ohakea Air Force Base.
Soldiers arriving home from Iraq disembark from an Air Force Boeing 757 at RNZAF Base Ohakea

26 March 2016

About 70 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) soldiers deployed to help train Iraqi Security Forces returned home this evening.

The returning personnel were welcomed home at RNZAF Base Ohakea by the Chief of Air Force, Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies. 

The soldiers formed part of the second rotation deployed to Iraq last November to contribute to the Building Partner Capacity (BPC) mission. A group of 37 NZDF personnel from the same rotation returned home from their six-month tour on 19 May.

“The training provided by our soldiers has been helping the Iraqi military regain their combat power as they step up counter-offensive operations against the terrorist organisation Daesh,” said Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand.

“Every soldier we train goes to the front line with new skills and confidence that make them more effective against Daesh and will help them to eventually defeat the terrorist group.”

Members of the Iraqi Security Forces attend training at the five coalition BPC sites as part of the continuing assistance to the Iraqi government in building the combat power necessary to sustain ongoing operations against Daesh.

Around 100 NZDF personnel and some 300 Australian Defence Force troops comprise the training force based at the Taji Military Complex. They have trained about 6600 ISF members since their mission began in April 2015, and a further 350 are currently undergoing training.

The New Zealand and Australian troops are among several thousand trainers from across the international coalition who support training programmes focused on individual soldier skills, weapons handling, combat first aid, live-fire and close quarters marksmanship, obstacle breaching techniques, counter-IED (Improvised Explosive Device), tactics and techniques for squad through to company-level operations, map reading and team leadership.

All Iraqi Security Forces are also taught the fundamentals of international human rights law and the Law of Armed Conflict.

ENDS

For further information contact Defence Public Affairs: 021 487 980

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