New Zealand Defence Force personnel working as part of an Anzac training force in Iraq have helped train more than 24,000 Iraqi Security Forces in the past two years. Photo credit: Australian Defence Force
7 July 2017
Eleven per cent of the New Zealand Defence Force’s (NZDF) regular force personnel are currently serving or training overseas, with personnel on six of the seven continents.
Major General Tim Gall, the Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, said about 500 servicemen and women were supporting 15 operations overseas, while another 500 were taking part in multinational exercises.
On average, there are only about 500 personnel deployed on operations and training overseas.
“What is significant is the geographical spread of our operations, given the relative size of our defence force. We have personnel in six of the seven continents,” Major General Gall said.
The mission objectives were also diverse, and included maritime surveillance, peacekeeping, fisheries patrols and building the capacity of local forces fighting Islamic extremists, he said.
“This speaks a lot about the range of capabilities of our people and the high regard that our international partners have for our contribution,” Major General Gall said.
About 230, or 23 per cent, of those deployed on operations are based in the Middle East, 100 are conducting two separate fisheries patrols in the South Pacific and nearly 500 are taking part in a biennial Australian and United States military training exercise.
Five are based in South Korea, including two who serve as United Nations monitors along the Demilitarised Zone with North Korea. Four are supporting the UN mission in war-torn South Sudan, while eight are working as UN observers in Israel and Lebanon.
The Royal New Zealand Navy frigate HMNZS Te Kaha, with about 180 sailors on board, is supporting the United States Seventh Fleet and has just transited through the Philippine Sea with the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz.
The amphibious sealift vessel HMNZS Canterbury, one C-130 Hercules aircraft, two NH90 medium-utility helicopters , a Combined Arms Task Group Regimental Headquarters, about 110 military vehicles and 500 personnel are taking part in Exercise Talisman Saber 17, the combined Australian and United States military training exercise that is being held from to 23 June to 25 July in central Queensland.