Kumul Force 17 returns after a job well done
Accolades and praise were the order of the day when PNG Defence Force’s Kumul Force 17 returned from Australia where they assisted in rebuilding communities devastated by the recent Australian bush fires.
The first of two Australian Air Force C130 aircrafts arrived at 12:20 pm to a searing midday heat at the PNGDF Air Transport Wing hangar at the Jackson International Airport in Port Moresby, where a brief reception was hosted for KF 17.
Guest speakers included Deputy Prime Minister Davies Steven and Ms Caitlin Wilson, Deputy Head of Mission to PNG, Australian High Commission.
“It is an honour and pleasure to welcome home members of Kumul Force 17 who worked side by side with our Australian friends, like our forefathers so many years ago on the Kokoda Track, but now against a different enemy – fire,” DPM Steven said.
He said Australia has always been the first to respond to PNG in times of need, disaster and calamity.
“The bushfire gave us an opportunity to reciprocate the good acts and friendship that holds together our two countries,” Mr Steven said.
He said the bushfire also provided an opportunity to understand and learn from the global security environment so that in times of peace we can better prepare for such future crisis and natural disasters.
Ms Wilson said Australia is thankful for the assistance and cooperation and looks forward to stronger and closer partnership into the future.
“We give our heartfelt and a big thank you, particularly to the Kumul Force 17 for their help and efforts,” Ms Wilson said citing the long shared history of friendship and partnership between Australia and PNG.
KF 17 represents the seventeenth time that PNG troops have been deployed abroad and is the largest deployment by the PNGDF overseas. An estimated 100 troops were part of the deployment that included a company from the PNGDF Engineering Battalion at Lae’s Igam barracks and a platoon-strength support from Port Moresby’s Taurama Barracks.
Prior to their departure back home the PNG Community in Townsville hosted some members to a small farewell reception.