PACIFIC OCEAN - The U.S. and Royal Australian navies participated in a professional exchange program (PEP) in support of exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (TS13), July 13-24.
The PEP allowed 45 Sailors to embark the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) and Royal Australian Navy (RAN) guide-missile frigate HMAS Sydney (FFG 03) to interact with crew members, learn ship capabilities and perform foreign liaison duties during TS13.
"It was important to have [RAN sailors] aboard to broaden our horizons on each other's capabilities," said Lt. Brian Anthony, Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15's plans and exercise officer. "Additionally, this program allowed Australian liaison officers to partake in carrier protection operations at a staff level, which should improve their ability to protect the carrier in future bilateral operations."
Liaisons provided the RAN critical insight of U.S. tactics, techniques and procedures of Aegis-class guided-missile destroyer operations for their future operations once their military completes construction of three new Aegis-class destroyers.
Besides performing official duties, RAN Sailors were afforded the opportunity to visit the ship of a partner nation.
Sydney Able Seaman Adam Szlicht, who toured George Washington, said his short tenure aboard the ship was overwhelming and departed with a desire for continued joint operations between both countries to enable his fellow RAN Sailors the chance to experience this unique opportunity.
Szlicht said he was most impressed by the carrier's flight operations.
"I'm really impressed by the number of aircraft stationed on the ship; I've never seen jets stationed on ships," said Szlicht. "Everything from the movement of the people prior to the launch of aircraft to persons conducting maintenance intrigued us."
George Washington Sailors were also intrigued with the capabilities and personnel of Sydney.
"I cannot believe that everyone onboard [Sydney] has at least four jobs due to their low manning," said Information Systems Technician 2nd Class Alexis Madison. "I met a guy who worked as a barber, deck-hand, firefighter and cook."
Besides their hard work ethic in the midst of an undermanned ship, U.S. Sailors admired their willingness to interact and work with one another.
"The Australian sailors expressed a keen eagerness to share information to their counterparts and talk about the difference in our tactics to complete our overall mission." said Cryptological Technician Technical 1st Class Robert Lynch.