IN FOR THE LONG HAUL: Australians soldiers have played a vital role in training, advising and offering air support to Iraqi forces.
IN FOR THE LONG HAUL: Australians soldiers have played a vital role in training, advising and offering air support to Iraqi forces. CPL Matthew Bickertonadfaap

Australian military chief ‘deeply satisfied’ with Iraq role

THE Chief of Joint Operations, Vice Admiral David Johnston, has congratulated Iraqi forces on retaking Ramadi and highlighted the Australian Defence Force's contribution to the operation.

Vice Admiral Johnston said Australia's Special Operation Task Group in Iraq had advised and remotely assisted Iraqi forces as they successfully fought their way to the IS-held centre of Ramadi.

Australian advisors enabled more than 150 air strikes in support of the offensive, resulting in the destruction of 50 IS fighting positions, 16 heavy machine guns and numerous vehicle-borne explosive devices.

"It is deeply satisfying to see how the Australian Special Operations Task Group in Iraq have supported 1st ISOF Brigade through the Advise and Assist mission," Vice Admiral Johnston said.

He said the taskforce had been providing training assistance to the Iraqis for more than a year, covering areas such as tactics, medical aid and bomb defusing skills.

As well, F/A-18A Hornets from the Air Task Group had been vital in striking IS fighting positions that were hampering the Iraqis advance.

Overall, the Air Task Group had completed 99 missions and released 96 munitions since July for operations in Ramadi.