INDIAN OCEAN (NNS) – The USS Ashland (LSD 48), with embarked 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), began participating in exercise Talisman Sabre 2015, July 7 off the coast of the Northern Territory of Australia.
Talisman Sabre is designed to enhance bilateral interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces and will include participation from several U.S. Navy and Marine units and Royal Australian Navy, and Australian Defence Force.
“The purpose of Talisman Sabre is to test and improve the interoperability between Australian defense forces and our U.S. Navy and Marine Corps team,” said Cmdr. Daniel P. Duhan, commanding officer of the Ashland. “Ashland will embark Australian service members who will integrate with our Marines during the amphibious landing portion of the exercise. Once our Marines are ashore, there will be additional side-by-side training in the field.”
The exercise will cover almost 3 weeks of operations including mobile units such as; Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs), Humvees, Landing Craft Air Cushions (LCACs), Landing Craft Utilities (LCUs), Combat Rubber Raiding Crafts (CRRCs), and air support from the 31st Marine Aviation Combat Element (ACE) and Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25.
Rifle Platoon Commander for the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, 1st Lt. Clarence Miller, says the exercise is a great way to see what our counterparts are using and being able to perform in a completely unknown environment.
“It’s always interesting to see what gear other countries are using, you’re also working within the confines of which you’re given and it’s different, which makes it a lot more fun, it’s not every day you get to do a mechanized assault on a beach in Australia,” said Miller. “The Australian’s get to see how we operate, our sole purpose is to do amphibious type operations, and it’s pretty humbling to get to show our counterparts what we do.”
Talisman Sabre will culminate in an amphibious landing where U.S. Marines will use their assets and then integrate with the Australian Army, from which they will be transported to several field training areas and ranges.
“The Ashland Navy and Marine Corps team, as part of the 31st MEU and Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) are ready and thrilled to be a part of Talisman Sabre 2015,” said Duhan.
Ashland an amphibious dock landing ship departed from Sasebo, Japan, June 3 in preparation for Talisman Sabre. Ashland is a part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group and is on patrol in the U.S. 7th fleet area of operations.