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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Changing of the guard

Changing of the guard

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Colonel Lewis Coyle of the Royal Australian Army, right, shakes hands with Captain Andrew Dakin of the Royal Australian Navy on Friday, January 18, the day Colonel Coyle handed over the duties of Australian Defence Attache’ to Captain Dakin. Photograph: Heng Chivoan/Phnom Penh Post

Australian Defence Attache Colonel Lewis Coyle of the Royal Australian Army handed over his duties last Friday to Captain Andrew Dakin of the Royal Australian Navy.

Cambodia has not seen the last of Colonel Coyle, however, because his son married a Khmer lady whose father is Lt General Dy of the Royal Cambodian Army.

While Colonel Coyle retires after at 33-year career, he promises to be back frequently to Cambodia, running a golf tours business.

“Cambodia is very much a stable place now,” Coyle said. “We’ve provided training here in counter-terrorism, maritime security and professional development with English language training.”

According to insiders, it was Colonel Coyle’s good relationship with Major General Hun Manet that led to his appearance last Friday for the opening of the new Vanda Wing of the Children’s Surgical Center.

Colonel Coyle’s replacement, Captain Dakin is a helicopter pilot originally from Britain’s Royal Navy, having transferred to Australia in 1986.

“I’m looking forward to carrying on the good work that Colonel Coyle has done,” Dakin said. “I’ve got good hopes for this country.”

The Australian Armed Forces often provide free transport for equipment donated from Australia for places like the Children’s Surgical Center.

“If there’s something coming over and we have spare capacity, it’s no problem,” Coyle said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stuart Alan Becker at stuart.becker@gmail.com

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