Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, right, speaks during a closing ceremony for Talisman Saber 2013
CAIRNS, Australia (July 29, 2013) - Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, right, speaks during a closing ceremony for Talisman Saber 2013 (TS13) on board U.S. 7th Fleet's flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), July 29. Also on stage was James Choi, Crisis Response Control Group lead for TS13, right middle, Niels Marquardt, U.S. consul general in Sydney, and Gen. David Hurley, chief of Australian Defence Force. The closing ceremony celebrated the conclusion of TS13 which is a biennial military exercise that trains Australian and U.S. forces to plan and conduct combined task force operations to improve combat readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten/Released)
Talisman Saber 2013 Wraps Up Aboard USS Blue Ridge
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Joshua Karsten
CAIRNS, Australia - The biennial joint US-Australian exercise Talisman Saber 2013 concluded with a ceremony hosted by Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) in Cairns, Australia, July 29, 2013.

Talisman Saber is a joint exercise sponsored by U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force (ADF) Headquarters Joint Operations Command that incorporates components of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force, the Australian Defence Force and other government agencies from each country. US non-government organizations (NGO) included US Aid, Red Cross and Departments of State, Justice and Agriculture and Australian NGO's included the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australian Civil Corps and the Asia-Pacific Civil-Military Centre of Excellence.

"TS-13 has been a great demonstration of the alliance between the U.S. and Australia," said Locklear. "I want to thank each and every one of you for your great performance during this important operation."

Talisman Saber is a realistic and challenging exercise that improves both nations' ability to work multilaterally and prepares them to be poised to provide security regionally and globally. More than 70 different major training events were thrown at the combined team of watch standers, analysts, planners, and managers, with a team of training observers watching closely.

"The most important thing I do as 7th Fleet Commander is build relationships with allies, partners, and friends; with various Naval peers in the region; with other service peers, Army and Air Force. That's Talisman Saber," said Vice Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander, US 7th Fleet and TS13 commander.

Providing command and control of the exercise from Blue Ridge, the combined task force supported each component of land, air, sea and special operations in the area surrounding Australia. Based on fictional scenarios, the Exercise included combined Special Forces operations, parachute drops, amphibious landings, land force maneuvers, urban and air operations and the coordinated firing of live ammunition from a range of in-service weapons systems used by exercise participants. The fictional scenarios were designed to bring the different branches of the Australian and US military together in a combined environment.

"For Australia it's been very valuable; the U.S. bringing to the activity and scale that we are not used to but we're comfortable working. So the layout of integration was high," said Australian Brig. Gen. David Coghlan, TS13 deputy commander. "Aboard the Blue Ridge, I had about a hundred Australian defense personnel who have integrated very well and throughout the fleet."

The closing ceremony took place aboard Blue Ridge and was a chance for Locklear to speak to both 7th Fleet and ADF members. The ceremony also included distinguished guests The Honorable James Choi, crisis response control group lead for Talisman Saber, The Honorable Niels Marquardt, US consul general, and Australian Army Gen. David Hurley, chief of Australian Defence Force.

Talisman Saber included more than 27,000 U.S. and Australian personnel, was aimed at improving ADF and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force. The exercise was designed to enhance multilateral collaboration in support of future combined operations, humanitarian emergencies and natural disasters. This exercise was a major undertaking and illustrated the closeness of the US and Australian alliance and the strength of the military-to-military relationship.

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