back to Operations List Operations List
Operation CATALYST

Australia: 16 July 2003 – 31 July 2009

Area of Operations: The total land areas, territorial waters, internal waterways and superjacent airspace boundaries of Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia north of 23 degrees North latitude, the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.

Op Catalyst, the successor to Op Falconer and Op Bastille (under Op Slipper), began in July 2003. It was the ADF's contribution to the US-led Multinational Force effort to develop a secure and stable environment in Iraq, to assist national recovery programs and facilitate the transition to Iraqi self-government. The Government adjusted Australia's military commitment to Iraq after the transition from offensive combat operations to stabilisation and recovery operations. This role then developed into a key security and training role enabling the people of Iraq to take responsibility for their own security. Australian personnel were responsible for training approximately 36,000 members of the Iraqi Army, Navy and Marines, including the conduct of specialist training in logistics support, counter-insurgency operations and maritime interception and interdiction operations in protecting Iraq’s vital offshore resources so critical to its economic future.

Australian forces also had the honour of being involved in the first transfer of an Iraqi province, Al-Muthanna, to the provincial security control of Iraqi forces.

Deployed: Approximately 1000 Servicemen and women from all three services were first deployed to Iraq in 2003 in a range of combat and combat support roles. By February 2007, the number of personnel assigned to Op Catalyst had been raised to 1,575 personnel mainly through increased security and training capabilities.

In total more than 20000 ADF personnel through: Al Muthanna province Battle Group; Dhi Qar province Battle Group; RAN led Iraqi Coastal Defence Force Training Team; RAN Major Fleet Units and embarked flights; AATT - Iraq; combined Communications, Information Systems tactical and Logistics elements; Medical elements; a Joint Task Force Headquarters; personnel embedded in various coalition headquarters; Task Force 158 Fleet Battle Staff; Coalition Air Operations Command personnel; a RAAF P3-C Orion detachment; a RAAF C-130 Hercules detachment; a combat support element providing Air Traffic Control; and Defence civilian advisers in the Iraqi Ministry of Defence.

Killed: 2 - WO2 David Nary, SASR, RAINF, 6 November 2005; PTE Jacob Kovco, 3 RAR (Para), RAINF, 21 April 2006

Veterans’ Entitlements Determination dated 12 February 2010: Warlike Service.

Awards: Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with Clasp ‘IRAQ 2003’ - 1 day/1 sortie ; Iraq Medal (Iraq-Medal-S154-09-Determination.pdf).

AASM 1988 Iraq Medal
AASM with Clasp
‘IRAQ 2003’
Iraq Medal