April 25, 2003

"AN AUSTRALIAN flag now flies

"AN AUSTRALIAN flag now flies over al-Asad air base." Tom Allard of the SMH reports on the SAS's war:

The 57 Soviet-made MiGs, helicopters, anti-aircraft batteries, helicopters and 7.9 million kilograms of munitions and ordnance captured will form the basis of the "free Iraq air force" and it is a matter of considerable pride for men who never doubted the value of their mission.

According to the regiment's operational commander, who cannot be named or photographed and is surprisingly young, probably in his late 20s or early 30s, "we are very, very proud we have made Iraq a viable nation state".

Even during conflict, the Australian soldiers never lost sight of crucial national priorities:

In their final act of the campaign, the entire squadron - who usually operate in patrols of five of six members that are widely dispersed - came together with commandos from the 4RAR battalion to take the al-Asad airfield.

Australian F/A18 bombers helped with air support. "It was nice to listen to an Aussie voice on the other end of the radio," the commander says. "It was even better when they told us we had won the World Cup."

Posted by Tim Blair at April 25, 2003 11:31 AM