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New Zealand Troops Return from Solomon Islands Deployment

4 August 2011

New Zealand Troops Return from Solomon Islands Deployment

Thirty five NZ Defence Force personnel have arrived back in Christchurch after completing a four month deployment supporting the Regional Assistance Mission to the Solomon Islands (RAMSI).

The contingent, made up mostly of personnel from 2nd/1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/1 RNZIR) and supporting units, were met by family, friends and Colonel Phil McKee, Commander of 3LFG.

The fourteenth rotation of troops worked alongside the Royal Solomon Islands Police Force (RSIPF), the Participating Police Force and the Australian, Tongan and Papua New Guinean military personnel to maintain security and stability. This allows the people and Government of the Solomon Islands to lay the foundations for long term stability, security and prosperity.

The Kiwis have handed over to an Australian contingent who will man the next two rotations. During this period a small number of NZ Defence Force personnel will be based with the Australians working in headquarters roles.

Senior National Officer Major Al Mitchell said the contingent worked on a mixture of operational tasks and training and were highly respected by the local population.

“The contingent established excellent relationships within RAMSI, particularly with the military and police forces from throughout the Pacific. The team has also been well received by locals whenever they have been out and about.

“While the security situation has improved dramatically since 2003, the military and police together act as a deterrent, ready to back up the RSIPF when needed. This means they have to train in-country to maintain high readiness and interoperability with police.

"If we're going to be focused on operating in the Pacific region, as the Defence White Paper has directed us to, these are the types of scenarios we'll likely encounter, and we have been developing this capability during our deployment,” said Major Mitchell.

ENDS

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