Force Communications Unit home in Townsville
Deployed as part of Operation Accordion on 24 June 2014, Force Communications Element 1 (FCE 1) was responsible for providing communications and information systems to enable national command and control and to coordinate coalition systems to support Australian Defence Force (ADF) interoperability with coalition partners within the MER.
Members of FCE 1 maintained the provision of national Communications and Information Systems (CIS) to ADF personnel deployed across the MER, while also providing surge support to 500 additional users when the Air Task Group and Special Operations Task Group arrived in to support coalition efforts in Iraq under Operation Okra.
Major Andrew Champion, Officer Commanding FCE 1 said the deployment was demanding but his team had overcome many challenges to achieve their mission.
“An influx of personnel as a result of Operation Okra stretched our resources but my team came through to meet the demands and provide the quality service you would expect from communications professionals,” MAJ Champion said.
“In handing over to FCE 2, I am confident they will continue to build on the standard set by FCE 1 and our predecessors, and continue to provide an important service to all deployed ADF personnel in the MER.”
Commander Joint Task Force 633, Rear Admiral (RADM) Trevor Jones, AO, CSC, recognised the hard work and dedication of the FCE 1 members during the Transfer of Authority Ceremony on 30 January 2015.
“The modern battlefield requires efficient, effective and instantaneous communications to maintain command and control, while access to the internet and email is an important service for the morale of deployed members,” RADM Jones said.
“You have a vital role on operations and I thank you for your efforts to maintain our communication systems - 24/7 during the past seven months.”
The incoming Force Communications Element 2 (FCE 2), led by Major Mathew Hegarty, is also predominantly from Army’s 3rd Combat Signal Regimentand the Royal Australian Air Force’s 1st Combat Communications Squadron.
Operation Accordion's mission is to support the sustainment of ADF operations, enable contingency planning and enhance regional relationships in the Middle East Region.