Hundreds of friends and family gathered to say goodbye to the members of 8th Brigade, who deployed as part of Operation ANODE, the Australian Defence Force’s contribution to the Australian-led Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI).
RAMSI’s mission is to assist the Government of Solomon Islands in the maintenance of security, law and justice, economic governance, and improving the machinery of government.
RAMSI is known to locals as Operation HELPEM FREN, Pidgin for ‘Helping Friend’.
The Reservists are from a range of civilian occupations and have spent several months in continuous and part-time training at various locations.
Attending the farewell, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, Senator David Feeney, praised the dedication and commitment of the deploying members and wished them well on their mission.
“You have a mission in front of you that will challenge you in many ways – physically, professionally, and mentally,” Senator Feeney said.
“You will be required to work among, and with, a diverse range of people who belong to different ethnic and cultural groups, and I’m sure you will be challenged by some of the sights and sounds which are completely different from anything you have experienced in Australia. You will be far from your normal family support bases and from usual forms of recreation and relaxation.
“You will be challenged but I know that you are very well prepared for these challenges.”
Commander of 8th Brigade, Brigadier Allan Murray, acknowledged the hard work of members and outlined their role while deployed.
“This deployment is the culmination of intensive and demanding training,” Brigadier Murray said.
“During their deployment, the Brigade’s soldiers will carry out a diverse range of operational tasks in support of the Participating Police Forces and Royal Solomon Islands Police Force within the Solomon Islands.”