Troops test ca­pa­bil­i­ties

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY at Shoal­wa­ter Bay

TOWNSVILLE de­fence per­son­nel are flex­ing their tac­ti­cal and war fight­ing mus­cles in the air, on land and by sea as part of the re­gion’s largest combined forces train­ing ac­tiv­ity.

The sev­enth Tal­is­man Sabre se­ries of ex­er­cises be­gan on July 1 and is a ma­jor Aus­tralian and United States mil­i­tary train­ing ex­er­cise in­volv­ing over 30,000 troops fo­cused on the plan­ning and con­duct of mid­in­ten­sity “high end” warfight­ing.

The Townsville Bul­letin em­bed­ded with Bat­tle Group Can­nan and Bat­tle Group Pe­ga­sus in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across the Shoal­wa­ter Bay train­ing area over the past three days.

Speak­ing from an undis­closed lo­ca­tion within the train­ing area, Com­man­der 3rd Bri­gade Brigadier Chris Field said plan­ning for the coali­tion train­ing ex­er­cise be­gan 18 months ago.

“This is a great op­por­tu­nity to be stretched and test our­selves out,” he said.

“I know there are many ar­eas where I per­son­ally can im­prove and also by bring­ing an or­gan­i­sa­tion of this size to­gether there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for us to learn from each other.

“Each day goes through quite fast in terms of ac­tiv­i­ties but each of them is used as learn­ing op­por­tu­nity and re­ally is a great priv­i­lege.”

Brig Field on Sun­day said his troops had planned for 17 days to get into their tac­ti­cal po­si­tion to work against a fic­tional en­emy, played by per­son­nel from the Dar­win and Ade­laide- based 1st Bri­gade.

“We are the of­fence and we are em­pow­ered against an en­emy that is a peer to us,” he said.

“They have sim­i­lar ca­pa­bil­i­ties to us and we have to work against them.

“They are a think­ing en­emy who do things to make our life dif­fi­cult and we’re try­ing to do things op­po­site.”

Out of 5000 per­son­nel in or sup­port­ing 3rd Bri­gade, up to 15 per cent are Army Re­serves.

“We have given more than 500 of them the en­hanced F88 weapons to give ( the Re­serves) the op­por­tu­nity to have the lat­est weapons, be­cause hav­ing the lat­est equip­ment is re­ally the op­por­tu­nity to show the Re­servists that we re­ally care for them and they are a big part of our team,” he said.

The ex­er­cise is ex­pected to con­clude next week.

ON ALERT: Pri­vate Christo­pher Gal of 11th Com­bat Ser­vice Sup­port Bat­tal­ion mans a gun pit near Shoal­wa­ter Bay. Pic­ture: WESLEY MONTS

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