Minister Andrews was sworn in on December 23, replacing Senator David Johnston.
“This was my first opportunity as Minister for Defence to visit Australian Defence Force personnel deployed on operations, and I was deeply impressed by their professionalism in carrying out often extremely dangerous tasks in the service of this country,” Minister Andrews said.
During the visit, he met Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) personnel in Baghdad, as well as personnel from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Air Task Group (ATG).
“I was able to observe first-hand the air package that Australia is providing through the F/A-18F Super Hornet’s strike capability, the coordination capability of the E-7A Wedgetail, and the endurance that the KC-30A Multi-Role Tanker Transport aircraft provides to Australian and coalition aircraft,” Minister Andrews said.
“While the technical capability of the aircraft is significant, I was most impressed with the quality and commitment of the Air Task Group personnel, who are making a key contribution to supporting the Iraqi forces.”
The new MINDEF also visited the headquarters of the Australian Joint Task Force in the Middle East.