27,000 Troops Prepare for Talisman Saber 2013 
By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Toni N. Burton  
CORAL SEA - More than 27,000 U.S. and Australian personnel are converging in Australia and the Coral Sea in preparation for the amphibious exercise Talisman Saber 2013, to be held off the coast of Australia July 15 through Aug. 6.

Talisman Saber is a U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM)-sponsored exercise that trains forces in a mid-intensity, high-end warfighting scenario involving a combined joint task force. Designed to improve U.S./Australian combat training, readiness and interoperability, approximately 18,000 U.S. and 9,000 Australian personnel will participate in the exercise.

"Australia is a long standing ally," said Vice Adm. Scott Swift, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet. "Talisman Saber is the largest and most important bilateral exercise we conduct together, flexing our combined capabilities to ensure we can operate seamlessly together to promote security and stability in the region."

Swift is the overall combined joint task force commander of Talisman Saber. His deputy CJTF commander is Brigadier David Coghlan, commander of Australia's 6th Brigade.

The goal of Talisman Saber is to train and validate the U.S. and Australian joint task force in crisis planning and contingency operations. Other key goals are to improve U.S./Australian combat readiness and interoperability through combined training and demonstrate the U.S. and Australia's ability and commitment to support the security interests of Australia and those of the broader Indo-Asia-Pacific region.

"Talisman Saber provides an opportunity for personnel from both countries and each branch of their militaries to train together and enhance their combined and joint warfighting skills. The exercise increases interoperability, flexibility and readiness, all of which are force multipliers in maintaining security and stability in the region," said Swift.

This is the fifth Talisman Saber exercise. Talisman Saber (called Talisman Sabre when led by Australia) merges the previous exercises Tandem Thrust and Crocodile into one biennial, joint, combined exercise with U.S. and Australian forces.

Swift stated the bond between the U.S. and Australia is stronger than ever and remains one of the most important alliances in the world.

"The U.S./Australian alliance is an anchor of peace and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region," Swift said. "Our visits and exercises reaffirm that we are aligned in our views, and that a strong relationship between our militaries and countries is essential for maintaining maritime security and keeping the seas safe for commerce. This exercise reflects the closeness of the Australian and U.S. alliance and the strength of our military-to-military relationships."

Training will be conducted from multiple locations in the United States to include Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, San Diego, Joint Base Lewis-McChord and Suffolk, Va.; multiple locations in Australia to include Rockhampton, Enogerra, Amberley, Williamtown, Richmond, the maritime areas of the Coral Sea and Australian ranges to include Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townsville Field Training Area. 

U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) and embarked staff are currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility, building maritime partnerships and conducting security and stability operations.
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