BRISBANE, Australia - The forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and embarked Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) arrived in Brisbane, Australia for a port visit, Aug 3.
There are several events scheduled while the ship is visiting Brisbane. The ship will play host to a big top ceremony and the visit will also mark the start of a new era for Germantown. Cmdr. Carol McKenzie, who previously served as the ship's executive officer, will assume command from current Germantown Commanding Officer Cmdr. A. D. Hull during a scheduled change of command.
A community service project, sponsored by the ship's Religious Ministries department, is scheduled at Mater Children's Hospital. A softball game between Germantown Sailors and Marines and members of the Australian military is also scheduled. Several tours sponsored by the ship's Morale, Welfare and Recreation department will be available to Sailors who want a chance to explore the city.
After getting a taste of Australia when the ship visited Townsville June 7 earlier during the spring patrol, several Sailors said they are looking forward to visiting this city of more than 2 million residents and fully exploring what the city has to offer.
"I didn't get to visit the zoo when we hit Townsville," said Gunners Mate 3rd Class Linnell Bajao. "I hope to visit one in Brisbane and see an actual kangaroo and koala. I also want to relax and have a good time with my friends after a long deployment."
The visit comes as the Essex Amphibious Readiness Group completed Talisman Sabre 2011 (TS11), July 30. TS11 is a bilateral command post and field training exercise designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces. The exercise consisted of approximately 14,000 U.S. and 9,000 Australian personnel.
Hull said he felt TS11 was a success and his Sailors and Marines performed exceptionally well and gained valuable experience from the exercise.
"Our Navy and Marine Corps team benefitted immensely from exercise TS11," he said. "It was a huge privilege to be able to participate in this exercise. The crew is looking forward to our next opportunity to operate with the Australians."
Lcpl. Marshall Chiles said after being on the beach during TS11, he is ready to unwind.
"I'm looking forward to calling my family, shopping, and hanging out with friends," he said.
Germantown departed Sasebo, Japan, June 24 for TS11. Germantown was commissioned Feb. 8, 1986 and is capable of carrying more than 721 Sailors and Marines. It is 610 feet long and can travel at speeds up to 20 knots.