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NEWS | July 9, 2015

Australia, U.S. Partnership Journeys to Outback

By Airman 1st Class Kyle Johnson JBER Public Affairs

Next week, the U.S. Army’s 3rd Battalion, 509th Infantry (Airborne), 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division is scheduled to jump with Australian jumpmasters as part of the joint forcible entry operation dubbed Operation Talisman Saber which serves two primary functions.

"The purpose of the exercise is first and foremost to reinforce our bilateral relationship with Australia," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. Matthew Hardman, 3-509th commander. "For us, it's all about deterring potential adversaries and reassuring neighbors, and we do that together. Peace comes from that."

Talisman Saber is routinely performed every other year, but the scope of the operation is anything but ordinary, Hardman said.

They will jump into the Kapyong Drop Zone -- named after an historic battle in the Korean War -- in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, Queensland, Australia.

The troops will leave JBER, fly more than a dozen hours and exit an aircraft on a continent many of them have never been to before while under operational leadership from another country. Afterward, they will perform ground operations for the rest of the day before turning around and flying back to Alaska to do it all over again the next day at the Malemute Drop Zone, Hardman said.

"It's as close to as real as possible," he added. "I think the [troops] are looking forward to that."

Successfully completing the operation requires the strategic assistance of the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force Air Force, Hardman said.

"There's a joint strategic reach capability that's critical here -- our ability to reinforce and support allies, as well as to respond to crisis around the world," he stated. “Demonstrating that capability is critical to show we are able to do what we say we can do."

Part of that strategic reach is careful and efficient planning coupled with effective communication among sister branches and Australian forces.

To that end, over the past two and a half weeks, a few Australian jumpmasters and instructors have been at JBER to help prepare 3-509th paratroopers for the operation ahead of them.

"We've been working battle preparation with the 509th and going through jump rehearsals," said Australian Army Warrant Officer Class 2 Roderick Orchard, jumpmaster and instructor. "The troops here are very professional."

Jumping into a foreign continent can be scary, but Australia, like Alaska, is well known for its unique wildlife.

"That's probably the number one thing we've been asked," Orchard said. "What's going to bite me and kill me?"

While wildlife safety is something which is taken seriously, sometimes a bit of good-natured humor can help assuage concerns.

"We have nine of the most venomous snakes in the world," Orchard said. "We've got lots of vaccines for our snakes, but I have yet to see a bear vaccine."

To prepare 3-509th paratroopers for the operation, Orchard and his compatriots jumped with them here in their own drop zone over the past few weeks.

The drop zone was named after the Battle of Kapyong, Korea, which took place April 23 and 24, 1951, in which the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment forces, with the support of coalition partners, held their position against overwhelming odds as enemy forces attempted to recapture the city of Seoul.

The same interoperability that provided success in that battle is still being honed today through Operation Talisman Saber.

"The 509th's been a great host since we've been here," Orchard said. "It's been great to work with [them] and see the procedures and see how they work. [They’ve] been doing a great job -- and I'll be looking forward to working with [them] again."




U.S., Canada, Japan and the Philippines Conduct Multilateral Operations
240616-N-N0824-0100 PHILIPPINE SEA (June 16, 2024) The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Gregorio del Pilar-class patrol ship BRP Andres Bonifacio (PS 17), front, sails in formation with the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ralph Johnson (DDG 114), the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) ship JS Kirisame (DD 104), and the Royal Canadian Navy Halifax-class frigate HMCS Montreal (FFH 336) in the Philippine Sea during a multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity (MCA) between Canada, Japan, the Philippines, and the United States, June 16, 2024. Participating units include the Montreal (FFH 336), the Kirisame, the Andres Bonifacio, and the Ralph Johnson. MCAs demonstrate a collective commitment to promote and strengthen regional and international cooperation in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific. Ralph Johnson is forward deployed and assigned to Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 15, the Navy’s largest DESRON and the U.S. 7th fleet’s principal surface force. U.S. 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy's largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with allies and partners in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region. (Courtesy Photo)
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Joint Task Force Micronesia Holds Assumption of Command Ceremony
Adm. Samuel J. Paparo, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and Rear Adm. Gregory C. Huffman exchange salutes during the Joint Task Force – Micronesia assumption of command ceremony on Andersen Air Force Base, June 14, 2024. During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Gregory C. Huffman assumed command, and will serve as the first two-star admiral in the area in over 70 years. The establishment of Joint Task Force – Micronesia reflects the commitment of Department of Defense to support our pacing challenge throughout the region and bolster homeland defense.
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