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Australia changes command of ADF Contingent in South Sudan

Dec 09, 2020(Nyamilepedia) — On December 4th 2020, Colonel Mark Coyle, who has been serving as Operation Aslan command for the last 12 months handed the command of Operation Aslan to Colonel Tom Nairn.

Colonel Mark Coyle, left, and Colonel Tom Nairn in South Sudan(Photo credit:  Australian Department of Defence)
Colonel Mark Coyle, left, and Colonel Tom Nairn in South Sudan(Photo credit: Australian Department of Defence)

While receiving the command, Col.  Nairn appreciated the opportunity to continue Australia’s commitment to building peace in South Sudan.

“It is an extraordinary privilege to be able to command a dedicated group of Australians who have made, and continue to make, a significant commitment to building peace and stability in a fragile and complex region,” Colonel Nairn said.

He said he was looking forward to working with a multi-national team of military, civilian and police members to address the challenges of South Sudan.

“I’m also looking forward to working not just with Australians, but a committed multi-national team of military, civilian and police members to address the challenges that South Sudan faces.” Nairn added.

He praised Colonel Coyle for his 12 months of outstanding leadership.

“Colonel Coyle and his team have clearly achieved a great deal and made a truly significant contribution,” Colonel Nairn said.

For his part, Colonel Coyle said he was proud to have been deployed to South Sudan saying it had a special meaning. He added that the experience can not be understated.

“Serving in the youngest nation in the world to help them realise the dream of independence and democratic rule cannot be understated.” Col. Coyle said.

Colonel Coyle appreciates those who wore the UN blue beret for the hard decisions they made to serve at the frontline in the war torn South Sudan. 

“What they do is made extraordinary by the fact they volunteer for something that others either cannot do or will not do. It’s truly amazing,” Colonel Coyle said.

Coyle added that the rewards of saving countless lives is something UNMISS forces and support personnel will live to cherish for years.

“For those who served in UNMISS, they can all leave with a sense of accomplishment and with full knowledge that their actions, either as a staff officer or a military observer, saved countless lives and forged a foundation on which the fledgling country is building a true democracy.”

Operation Aslan began in September 2011 when ADF personnel transitioned from Operation Azure that was a part of the former United Nations Mission in Sudan.

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