Red roos mark out Aussie troops in Iraq

ABC News Online, 3 May 2005

The Australian commander of the Al Muthanna task group, Lieutenant Colonel Roger Noble, says Australian soldiers are making sure their vehicles are recognised by people in the southern Iraqi province. In the first week of deployment in the region, Australian troops have painted large red kangaroos on the side of their armoured vehicles.

Lieutenant Colonel Noble says the people of Al Muthanna appear to think highly of Australians and have started to distinguish them from other international forces in Iraq. "When they look at ours they look up and see a big red kangaroo, which is pretty much a universal symbol for Australia and they know who were are and what we are," he said.

"My feeling is that we′ve only been here a week and they′re getting to know our vehicles and our uniforms and they′re able to distinguish between us and some of our coalition partners. We′re happy when they know we′re Australian."

He says his troops do not face the same kidnap risk as Australians working in Baghdad. He says all precautions are in place to ensure the 450 members of the group are not captured.

"We have a number of procedures that we follow to try and make sure that we don′t put anyone in a position where they′re likely to be captured or taken hostage by a terrorist organisation," he said.