A look at the Defence news 27 February – 5 March

Over the coming 4 months, HNLMS Van Amstel will act as the Royal Netherlands Navy guard ship in the Caribbean. The multipurpose frigate left for the Caribbean last week, but not before a number of the crew had been awarded the disaster relief commemorative medal for their actions of one year ago.

In the Mediterranean, the crew managed to save the lives of countless migrants when HNLMS Van Amstel was operating in the area under the flag of European Union agency Frontex. The ship also patrolled the Aegean Sea for Frontex.

Last Dutch helicopters leave Mali

The 3 Dutch Chinook transport helicopters in Mali have returned to Dutch soil. This brought an end to the Dutch helicopter deployment to Minusma, which lasted 2.5 years. German military personnel took over the tasks of the Dutch helicopter deployment. The Netherlands has withdrawn its helicopters, because the desert sand is causing serious wear and tear to various components. The 3 helicopters will now undergo major maintenance. Over the next few months, the helicopters will be fully checked and repaired.

Australia honours General Tom Middendorp

Earlier this week, General Tom Middendorp was bestowed the title of Honorary Officer in the Military Division of the Order of Australia. Middendorp, the Netherlands Chief of Defence (CHOD), is the third Dutchman to have been awarded the title. He was awarded the honour for his role in Dutch-Australian defence cooperation. In 2009, Middendorp held command of NLD Task Force Uruzgan, which also comprised a number of Australian units. The Australians also spoke highly of his exceptional leadership qualities and empathy in the aftermath of the Flight MH17 crash. Last week, the general held talks with his Australian counterpart, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, on common security interests and further cooperation in the fight against terrorism.