Monday, April 18, 2005
Arriving soon at Camp Smitty:
"The advance party for a task force of 450 Australian troops bound for Iraq has landed at an airbase in Kuwait. The bulk of the Australian force is scheduled to arrive next week, said Lieutenant Colonel Mark Elliott, a spokesman for the Australian Defence Force. The troops are being sent to protect Japanese military engineers working in southern Iraq.This deployment will increase the Australian contingent in the region to 1350 personnel, which will put Australia behind the United States, Great Britain, South Korea, Italy, Poland and Ukraine, but expected to overtake the last two shortly, as both countries begin to withdraw their troops.
"The advance party, consisting of 40 soldiers and their light armoured vehicles, flew into the Ali Al Salem Air Base, north-west of Kuwait City, on an RAF Force troop transport on Sunday, Elliott said. An Australian navy ship, HMAS Tobruk, is expected to arrive in Kuwait with the task force's heavy equipment in 12 to 16 days.
"The Australians will train at a US desert camp in Kuwait before crossing into neighbouring Iraq and heading to their Dutch-run base at Camp Smitty in al-Muthana province."