DEFENCE MEDIA RELEASE
Friday, 23 October 2009
FIRST NAVY COMMANDER IN EAST TIMOR
Commodore Stuart Mayer from the Royal Australian Navy has taken command of the International Stabilisation Force (ISF) that is working to maintain security and restore normality in East Timor.
Commodore Mayer is the first naval officer to command the ISF. He assumes responsibility from the outgoing ISF Commander, Brigadier Bill Sowry, today at a handover ceremony in Dili.
Brigadier Sowry, who was recently bestowed the Timorese Government's highest honour, the Medal of Merit, says economic stability and community confidence in East Timor has been moving in a positive direction.
"While there is still work to be done, the improvements in East Timor's social and economic stability are apparent," Brigadier Sowry said at the handover ceremony.
"The streets are busy, marketplaces are open and employment opportunities are being created.
"In the past year, these improvements have enabled ISF troops to reduce their presence on the streets while still being on-hand to provide a rapid response if required. Importantly we are seeing provincial policing responsibilities passed from the UN to East Timorese police units.
"I welcome Commodore Mayer and know his leadership of the ISF will be of great benefit to East Timor as the nation moves forward," Brigadier Sowry said.
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans congratulated Brigadier Sowry on his outstanding tenure as Commander of the Australian led Joint Task Force.
"He has overseen a period of ongoing improvement in the security situation in East Timor that has seen a significant enhancement in the capability of East Timor's Police and Defence Forces," Lieutenant General Evans said.
Commodore Mayer has held numerous command positions at sea and at Maritime Headquarters in Australia since joining the Royal Australian Navy as a Seaman Specialist in 1984. Commodore Mayer is a recipient of the Conspicuous Service Cross and served in multiple theatres of operation.
Imagery is available at: http://www.defence.gov.au/opEx/global/opastute/images/gallery/2009/1023/index.htm
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