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|Vietnamese officers on the C-17 aircraft|
The C-17 aircraft left Ho Chi Minh City early today and the second airlift, which transports the remaining military personnel and equipment, is expected to take place in two weeks. In total, the two airlifts will fly the 63 personnel and 64 tonnes of cargo needed to support the first military level 2 hospital’s deployment to South Sudan.
The contingent was sent off yesterday (October 1, 2018) at a ceremony at Tan Son Nhat International Airport attended by Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of Defence, Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Chi Vinh, Australia’s Deputy Chief of Joint Operations Command, Major General Gregory Bilton, and Australian Ambassador to Vietnam, Craig Chittick.
Major General Bilton said, “Vietnam’s first deployment of a contingent to a UN Mission is an important milestone. This airlift and other Australian Defence Force assistance to help Vietnam prepare for the deployment demonstrates our shared commitment to the UN, global security, as well as the strength of our bilateral relationship.”
|The 64 tonnes of cargo to build the first military level 2 hospital in South Sudan|
Senior Lieutenant Colonel Hoang Kim Phung, director general of the Peacekeeping Department, said, “Australia has provided several English language courses at different levels for officers serving at the military field hospital, a power generator, two ambulances, and especially two C-17 aircrafts to carry Vietnam’s peacekeepers and equipment to South Sudan tonight and on October 16.”
Senior Lietenant Colonel Phung also said, “We would like to thank external agencies and international friends for their assistance and support over the past five years so that today the 63 officers working at the military field hospital can stand ready for their deployment to the UN mission in South Sudan.”
|The Australian representatives and the officers of the contingent|
The strategic airlift is the first time the Vietnam People’s Army has partnered with another nation to transport its forces overseas. It is the culmination of Australia’s support to Vietnam to achieve its goal of deploying a UN peacekeeping mission. Australia also provided specialist peacekeeping and English language training and essential equipment for the deployment of the field hospital.
“The airlift shows the high-level cooperation and trust between the Australian Defence Force and the Vietnam People’s Army. This is a great way to mark the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam and the 20th anniversary of defence cooperation between the two countries,” said Craig Chittick, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam.