Just over 350 members of the 3rd Brigade were cheered home at the first of the parades along Townsville’s iconic Strand. The second parade was held at Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera where approximately 400 soldiers from the 7th Brigade were welcomed home.
The two venues allowed family, friends and local communities who support the soldiers and their families to attend the parades and recognised the contribution of support networks to a successful deployment.
Major General Stuart Smith, former Commander of all Australian forces in the Middle East and current Commander of the 1st Division and Deployable Joint Force Headquarters, commended all troops in his address to the Enoggera parade.
“It is an honour to officially welcome home these men and women who made such a decisive contribution to the development of the Afghan National Security Forces in Uruzgan Province during their deployment,” Major General Smith said.
“On behalf of all Australians, I thank them for their service. I also personally acknowledge the consistent, patient and compassionate support these troops have received from family and friends, gathered here and across our nation.
“Sadly, the 3 RAR TG deployment came at a cost, with three soldiers killed and several wounded in action. Today, the thoughts and prayers of all Defence personnel are also with these soldiers, their family and friends,” he said.
The Task Group was drawn predominantly from Brisbane’s 7th Brigade and Townsville’s 3rd Brigade, but also drew on the expertise of members from units all around Australia.
Commander of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Greg Bilton said he continues to be extremely proud of the professionalism and dedication shown by the soldiers of the brigade on their deployments.
Brigadier Shane Caughey, Commander of the 3rd Brigade said the families are often the unsung heroes of any deployment, managing life in Australia so their loved ones can undertake their important and often dangerous jobs.
Operation SLIPPER is Australia’s military contribution to the international campaign against terrorism, maritime security in the Middle East Area of Operations and countering piracy in the Gulf of Aden.