Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - RACHEL RI­LEY in Shoal­wa­ter Bay

TOWNSVILLE am­phibi­ous de­fence per­son­nel have part­nered with US Marines for the first time in two years for a mas­sive beach as­sault as part of Ex­er­cise Tal­is­man Sabre.

Land­ing Craft Air Cush­ion ( LCAC) hov­er­craft, am­phibi­ous as­sault ve­hi­cles ( AAV) and MV22 Ospreys de­liv­ered more than 500 Marines from the 31st Marine Ex­pe­di­tionary Unit ( 31st MEU) ashore from the USS Green Bay dur­ing land­ings at Fresh­wa­ter Camp in Shoal­wa­ter Bay yes­ter­day.

They made it to the beach un­der lim­ited en­emy fire af­ter Townsville’s 2nd Bat­tal­ion, Royal Aus­tralian Reg­i­ment Ready El­e­ment Land­ing Force cleared the area at dawn.

2RAR Sec­tion Com­man­der of Pi­o­neers Small Boat Pla­toon Cor­po­ral Bradley Conger­ton said it was ex­cit­ing to be the first ones tasked ashore to se­cure pre­vi­ously un­vis­ited lo­ca­tions.

“It’s been two years since we’ve worked with the US Marines with am­phibi­ous in­ser­tion so it’s been a re­ally good ex­pe­ri­ence on Ex­er­cise Tal­is­man Sabre this year,” he said.

“We have re­hearsed this ( as­sault) and trained this over and over again so we are fairly con­fi­dent.”

Cpl Conger­ton said work­ing with the Marines had been re­ward­ing.

“They’ve got a sim­i­lar sense of hu­mour to the Aus­tralians, how­ever the lan­guage bar­rier with the slang is a bit dif­fer­ent but they are an ex­cel­lent bunch of peo­ple,” he said.

“We’ve taken bits of in­for­ma­tion from them which we’ll try to take and im­ple­ment for us, vice versa for them, so like set­ting up of craft.”

The 31st MEU is the only con­tin­u­ously for­ward de­ployed Marine Ex­pe­di­tionary Unit, which part­ners with the US Navy’s Am­phibi­ous Squadron 11 to form the am­phibi­ous com­po­nent of the USS Bon­homme Richard Ex­pe­di­tionary Strike Group.

The am­phibi­ous as­sault in­cluded Bat­tle Land­ing Team 3rd Bat­tal­ion, 5th Marines, the ded­i­cated force for Sea Dragon 2025, a US Marine Corps ini­tia­tive to de­velop ca­pa­bil­i­ties for chal­lenges of to­day and to­mor­row.

BLT 3/ 5 Small Boat Com­pany Lima com­pany com­man­der Cap­tain Tyler An­thony said his team’s role was to al­ways give the Marines a foothold.

“This was our sec­ond land­ing thus far and it was beau­ti­ful – we landed just as the sun was ris­ing,” he said. “It’s very pic­turesque and the water is fair- ly warm com­pared to where we train back in Cal­i­for­nia.”

Capt An­thony said learn­ing from 2RAR per­son­nel had helped ce­ment the coali­tion am­phibi­ous el­e­ments as a strong joint force in the Pa­cific.

“It’s been amaz­ing to work with the Aus­tralians,” Capt An­thony said.

“In our plan­ning and prepa­ra­tion … we’ve learned sev­eral things that they like to do that we ei­ther hadn’t thought of or didn’t have enough ex­pe­ri­ence to do. So we have been able to in­te­grate and plan and share some tech­niques and pro­ce­dures that we like to do and then get out and do some re­hearsals.”


SAFELY ASHORE: US Marine BLT 3/ 5 Small Boat Com­pany Lima com­pany com­man­der Cap­tain Tyler An­thony dur­ing the am­phibi­ous as­sault at Fresh­wa­ter Camp in Ex­er­cise Tal­is­man Sabre 2017 near Shoal­wa­ter Bay.

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