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Australian Officer Takes Coalition Command In Iraq


Australian Naval Officer To Take On Coalition Command In Iraq

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) officer, Commodore Steve Gilmore, CSC, RAN has been appointed to command a Coalition naval force in the Persian Gulf, Defence Minister Robert Hill announced today.

Senator Hill said Commodore Gilmore will command Task Force Fifty Eight (TF-58), a force of around ten Coalition warships with up to 2000 personnel, from a US Naval ship.

This is the highest level of Coalition command provided by the RAN in the Middle East Area of Operations. The RAN has previously held the command role in Maritime Interception Operations in the Gulf in 2002/03; however Commodore Gilmore's role will focus on the wider command role of Maritime Security Operations.

Commodore Gilmore will oversee Coalition maritime operations in the northern part of the Gulf as well as provide maritime security for Iraqi oil platforms and shipping connections in and out of Kuwait. He will report to the Coalition Force Maritime Component Commander. Commodore Gilmore is scheduled to take up this new appointment in late April and will be supported by a small staff of RAN and Coalition personnel.

"The request to have this position filled by an Australian Naval Officer stands as testimony to the high regard our Coalition partners have for the men and women of the Australian Defence Force," Senator Hill said.

"Commodore Gilmore is an accomplished Naval Officer and I am certain he will represent Australia in a manner that will make us all proud. "Australians should not underestimate the outstanding work being done by our men and women deployed to the Middle East, and this is another example of the ADF's capacity to make specialist contributions to the reconstruction and rehabilitation of Iraq."

There are approximately 920 personnel contributing to the reconstruction of Iraq. This will rise to around 1370 once the new Task Group deploys to Al Muthanna Province in April 2005.

Note: A copy of Commodore Gilmore's biography is available at http://www.defence.gov.au/opcatalyst

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