MARINES STORM UP THE BEACHES
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.