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PM To Welcome Home Kyrgystan Contingent

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa
30 September 2003

Media Release

Prime Minister To Welcome Home Kyrgystan Contingent

Prime Minister Helen Clark will tomorrow welcome home the RNZAF aircrew, maintenance and support staff of the New Zealand Hercules C-130 which has been conducting airlift operations out of the remote former USSR state of Kyrgystan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

The mainly Air Force contingent is expected to arrive into Whenuapai at 4.30 p.m. tomorrow (Thursday) afternoon.

The New Zealand Hercules flew the majority of its missions out of the detachment’s temporary home at Ganci Air Base, close to the city of Bishkek in Kyrgystan. The aircraft’s core roles included the carriage of personnel and equipment to various airfields throughout task group’s theatre of operations, which included Afghanistan and the greater gulf region.

Wing Commander Scott Arrell, the New Zealand Senior National Officer for the deployment, said the team had performed very well over the three months they were deployed.

“I am very proud of their efforts.”

Wing Commander Arrell says a great deal of other activity occurred involving the support teams in-country that was simply not quantifiable. Overall figures for the deployment show the Hercules relocated approximately 1,300 personnel and carried in excess of 650,000 lbs of freight.

The deployment, operating under the guise of ‘Task Group Tui’, forms part of the New Zealand’s commitment in Operation Enduring Freedom, which also includes an Orion currently operating in the Middle East. The Hercules aricraft, which is capable of carrying a maximum of 45,000 lbs or payload of 92 troops, or a combination of both, arrives home on Saturday with the remainder of the contingent.

ENDS

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