05 December 2008

New Zealand man on a mission

Wairarapa Times-Age A man on a mission 04.12.2008 By Don Farmer - Intrepid Greytown soldier Graeme Tod is off on yet another special assignment for the NZ Army.

Major Tod, who has already taken on unusual roles in both Antarctica and Afghanistan, is to take charge of a programme to provision Kiwi soldiers in East Timor.

He will be based in Darwin but will be " in and out" of East Timor regularly over the year-long posting he will take up a week before Christmas.

His team has been charged with providing logistic pipelines for the soldiers to enable them to carry out the work of helping the people of East Timor to maintain the rule of law in their country and develop self-reliance.

About 180 Kiwi soldiers are stationed in the once-troubled Southeast Asian country, with the army having originally posted troops there as a peacekeeping force in the wake of riots that broke out between pro-government troops and troops belonging to a disaffected guerrilla force known as Falintil.

Major Tod said his job is to ensure the troops got everything they needed even if that meant flying "a hammer, a pillow or toilet rolls" out of Darwin.

Officially his title while on this assignment will be Officer Commanding the National Support Element (Rear).

In 2004 Major Tod spent six months in Antarctica supporting scientific initiatives and a few months after his return to Wairarapa he was off to war-ravaged Afghanistan attached to a project known as Enduring Freedom.

The mission there was to carry out, and provide security for, reconstruction projects.

Major Tod has recently been in Darwin preparing for his new assignment. "The humidity there is unbelievable," he said.

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