Australians in Iraq 2003: Special forces group
- War in Iraq
- Political debate at home
- The RAN in the Persian Gulf
- RAN clearance divers
- The SAS in Iraq
- Special forces group
- The RAAF in Iraq
- Australians in Baghdad
- Current situation
- Official war artists
Special forces group
The Special Forces Operations Group consisted of the SAS contingent, together with commandos from the 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), and other attached groups. The 4RAR troops were available as a ready-reaction force to come to the aid of any SAS detachments which got into trouble, but in the event they were not needed in this role. However, they did assist the SAS in securing the Al Asad airbase in western Iraq and elements of the special forces group entered Baghdad to provide security when the Australian National Headquarters was set up in the city.
Three CH-47 Chinook helicopters from 5th Aviation Regiment transported the ground troops between areas of operation and helped supply the forces. Soldiers from various units went to Iraq to provide security for Australian defence and diplomatic personnel working in Baghdad. These included a detachment from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR), together with two light armoured vehicles from 2 Cavalry Regiment.
Specialists, including some from the Incident Response Regiment, were deployed to help deal with any weapons of mass destruction which might be found. At Al Asad they helped inspect the 8,000 tonnes of explosive ordnance found there, to ensure that it did not contain chemical or biological weapons.
Interior of a tent housing Australian troops at a base in the Middle East. The tents were set inside large, air-conditioned warehouses.
Headquarters troops at work at a base in the Middle East, in April 2003. More than any war in history, the war in Iraq was fought with computers, databases, “chat-rooms”, and a vast web of communications and intelligence making up what the military like to call “network-centric warfare”.
Australian personnel enjoying crowded living conditions inside a large hangar at their airbase in Qatar.
With an ironic nod towards the Cold War, two Australian airmen enjoy the comforts of tent life in their “shady shack of shonkies”, a supply tent at Baghdad airport, in May 2003. They are Sergeant Phil Johnston and Corporal Russell Huxley of 382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron.
Flags flying in front of American tent lines at Camp Snoopy, a major base in Qatar, in April 2003. The camp was also home to a number of Australian troops.