More than 6,000 New South Wales based members of the Australian Defence Force (ADF), Australian Federal Police and other government agencies will march through Sydney on Saturday, 21 March, as part of a national commemoration to mark the completion of Operation SLIPPER.
Operation SLIPPER was Australia’s military contribution to the International Security Assistance Force mission in Afghanistan, and the International Coalition against Terrorism mission across Afghanistan and the Middle East which commenced in October 2001.
Since Australia started operations in the region, more than 34,500 Australian Defence Force, Australian Government civilians and Australian Federal Police officers deployed to the Middle East area of operations.
All personnel participating in the commemorative events - to be held in all Australian states and territories as well as Townsville - will be veterans of the Operation SLIPPER campaign.
In Sydney, a march down George Street will step off from the junction of George and King Street at 10am with the Governor of New South Wales, His Excellency General the Honourable David Hurley, taking the salute at the steps of the Town Hall. The Parade will be followed by a commemorative service at the ANZAC Memorial in Hyde Park at midday.
Vice Chief of the Defence Force, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, an Operation SLIPPER veteran himself, said Navy, Army and Air Force units based in New South Wales represented a significant component of the Australian Defence Force's Operation SLIPPER workforce.
“From the many Navy ships that have departed Garden Island for six-month rotations to the Gulf, to the valiant efforts of Holsworthy-based 2nd Commando Regiment, and the sustained presence of our C-130 Hercules crews in the Middle East, Sydney has seen its fair share of farewells and welcomes home,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“They’ve been joined by aircraft and personnel from HMAS Albatross and RAAF Base Williamtown, Army engineers, logistics experts and a raft of other service men and women from military bases across New South Wales, who have seen active service throughout the course of the operation.
“I am extremely proud of all those who have served on Operation SLIPPER and am honoured to represent the ADF leadership during the commemorative events in Sydney.”
Former service personnel can register to participate in the Sydney commemoration at http://www.defence.gov.au/Ceremonial/opSlipper.asp#Sydney.
Major road closures will be in effect in the centre of Sydney on the day of the commemoration. Motorists are encouraged to get up-to-date information from www.livetraffic.com or by calling the Traffic Information Line on 132 701. Bus users are advised to check www.transportnsw.info or call 131 500 for details of bus diversions and timetable changes.