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Welcome home for Orion crews and support personnel.

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MINASSIST 27/03 Friday 6 June 2003


Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircrew, ground crew and support personnel were officially welcomed home from Operation Falconer in a ceremony at RAAF Base Edinburgh today.

Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Danna Vale joined Chief of Defence Force, General Peter Cosgrove and Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Angus Houston at a function for 90 Edinburgh based personnel who have returned from the Middle East.

“These men and women of the Maritime Patrol Group have performed superbly in completing their challenging responsibilities in often very difficult conditions,” Mrs Vale said.

Orion aircraft and personnel were originally deployed to the Middle East in January as part of Operation Slipper, Australia’s contribution to the international coalition against terrorism, and were later assigned to Operation Falconer.

The Orion contingent for Operation Falconer comprised approximately 150 personnel.

The Orions provided vital maritime surveillance support to Australian and other coalition ships during Operation Falconer, and that task is ongoing.

Two Orion AP-3C aircraft and support crews continue operating as part of the Government’s ongoing contribution to coalition operations in the Middle East.

Mrs Vale paid tribute to the Orion crews and support personnel who are still working in the Middle East, and those who will depart for the region shortly as part of a previously announced rotation of staff.

“Our personnel can be very proud of the contribution they have made and continue to make. Their specialist skills and professionalism are highly valued by coalition partners,” Mrs Vale said.

“I’d also like to recognise the families of deployed personnel who, at times, face long periods of separation from their loved ones. Without their support, deployments such as this would not be possible.”

Vision. File overlay of Orions will be available to television media at the function.

For further information contact: Rachael Thompson (Mrs Vale) 0417 265 289 Deanna Nott (Defence) 0417 887 040