The Hanoitimes - “The airlift shows the high-level cooperation and trust between the Australian Defence Force and Vietnam People’s Army," said Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick.
Australia supported the deployment of Vietnam's first contingent to a UN peacekeeping mission by providing Australia’s largest military transport aircraft C-17A Globemaster III to carry Vietnam’s peacekeepers and equipment to South Sudan.
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 C-17 aircraft takes off on Oct. 1.
The contingent was farewelled yesterday (October 1) at a ceremony at Tan Son Nhat International Airport attended by Vietnam’s Vice 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”.
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 aircraft to carry Vietnam’s peacekeepers and equipment to South Sudan tonight and on 16 October.”
“We would like to thank external agencies and international friends for their assistance and support over five years so that today 63 officers working at the military field hospital are determined and ready for their deployment to the UN mission in South Sudan,” Phung added.
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 to 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 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 Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Craig Chittick.