CORAL SEA (July 15, 2013) – The forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard(LHD 6), the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) officially began participating in exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (TS13) July 15.
Talisman Saber is aimed at improving Australian Defence Force (ADF) and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force. The 2013 exercise, which runs through August 5, is designed to enhance collaboration in support of future combined operations, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters.
In addition to improving both nations' ability to work bilaterally and multilaterally throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region and globally, the exercise also demonstrates the closeness of the Australian and U.S. alliance.
“Talisman Saber 2013 is designed to enhance our interoperability with the Australian Defense Forces, our long standing partners in this region," said Rear Adm. Jeffery Harley, commander, Amphibious Forces Seventh Fleet. "The embark of Australian Naval officers aboard Bonhomme Richard will allow us to more closely integrate our staffs during this complex bi-lateral, combined and joint exercise."
Jointly sponsored by the U.S. Pacific Command and ADF Headquarters Joint Operations Command, TS13 will incorporate a combined and joint force of more than 27,000 U.S. and Australian personnel from the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, the ADF and other government agencies from each country.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG’s primary responsibility for TS13 is to land the Marine Landing Forces of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) in order to train U.S. and Australian personnel to respond to crises and provide humanitarian assistance when called upon.
Lt. Emily Royse, PHIBRON 11’s Intelligence Officer, explained why the Bonhomme Richard’s role in this exercise is so significant.
“BHR and her crew are in their element as they demonstrate the capabilities of the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious assault ship.” said Royse. “Her presence, with Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet (CTF76), Commander, Amphibious Squadron Eleven (CPR-11), 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit(MEU), and Australian Amphibious Task Group(AUSATG) staff embarked allows U.S forces to continue building upon the bilateral military partnership with Australian forces formed during WWII.”
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O'Connor, commodore, Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.