A team of 25 Royal Australian Navy officers and sailors will depart this week for the Middle East and waters off Africa to form the command group of a Coalition Naval Task Force engaged in maritime security operations throughout the region.
Bahrain-based Combined Task Force 150 conducts counter terrorism and maritime security operations in the Red Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, and the Gulf of Oman.
As Commander of the Task Force, Commodore Richard Menhinick will have tactical control of Coalition ships and aircraft from many nations, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Singapore, Iraq, Pakistan, Germany and Australia’s HMAS Stuart.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans says it is the first time an Australian Officer has been assigned to this coalition command position – one of the most senior naval appointments in the Middle East Area of Operations.
“Commodore Menhinick and his team will be responsible for a combined crew of up to 1600 personnel; it is a very important role and a great endorsement for the professionalism of the Royal Australian Navy,” Lieutenant General Evans said.
“I would like to especially thank the families and friends of these personnel for their ongoing support and wish those deploying continued success and safety.”
Commodore Menhinick says he is confident his team is prepared for their mission.
“I am fortunate and privileged to lead such a capable and experienced team. We will meet all challenges directly and professionally and build upon the outstanding reputation of the Australian Defence Force in the international community,” Commodore Menhinick said.
“Our mission will be to sustain maritime security in the region, which includes deterring and countering terrorist movements at sea, to keep the seas open and safe for international shipping.”
“It is with mixed emotions we say goodbye to our families and friends, thanking them for their understanding and support, while looking forward to being in such an important leadership role,” Commodore Menhinick said.