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Iraq Training Mission Prep Moves to Next Phase

1 April 2015

New Zealand Defence Force personnel bound for deployment to train Iraqi security forces will have an Easter break with their families before the contingent heads to Australia and the next phase of preparation with the Australian Defence Force.

A number of NZ Defence Force personnel have already travelled to Australia, to train with their Australian counterparts as they routinely would during preparation for a joint mission. About 50 soldiers travelled to Australia last week, with most now returned to New Zealand. A further 60 went to Australia this week, and will be back in New Zealand for Easter.

Land Component Commander Brigadier (BRIG) Peter Kelly says the New Zealand-based pre-deployment training has gone “very well” and is now complete.

“It has been really successful, the deploying contingent found the training challenging and they are feeling positive going forward,” BRIG Kelly says.

“The pre-deployment training has prepared the New Zealand contingent to deliver a broad range of individual and military skills to the Iraqi Security Forces including basic weapons skills; individual and collective military skills to prepare them for combat operations; planning and conducting combat operations; and medical and logistics support.”

Travel details for the contingent will not be released ahead of departure for Australia, in accordance with the decision not to identify deploying personnel.

The Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Tim Keating says that while the move is precautionary, his top priority is the safety of New Zealand Defence Force personnel deploying to Iraq.

“ISIL is a truly global terror organisation, with the ability to reach out through online and social media to supporters and sympathisers in countries far from the Middle East. While the likelihood of targeting of NZDF personnel is currently considered to be low, it nonetheless remains a possibility.”

For more information please contact Defence Public Affairs on 021 487 980

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