Light swells lapped the white, sandy beach of Stanage Bay on the Capricorn Coast of Queensland, Australia.
On the horizon, small dots appeared, growing larger by the minute as they approached the shore at high speed. They were landing craft, air-cushion hovercraft, launched from the well decks of the amphibious transport dock ships USS Green Bay and USS New Orleans in the Coral Sea.
Overhead, Japanese CH-47 Chinooks from the Izumo destroyer and three types of U.S. Marine Corps aircraft — CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters, MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft and AH-1Z Cobra helicopter gunships from the Green Bay, New Orleans and amphibious assault ship USS America — supported the amphibious landing yesterday during Exercise Talisman Sabre 23.
Over 30,000 personnel and 13 nations are participating in this year’s full exercise. This year is the largest Talisman Sabre ever in its history, since the exercises began in 2005.
U.S. Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit sailors from the German Coastal Operations Sea Battalion, and a company of Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force troops disembarked, some on foot and others in tactical vehicles that rolled off the ramps of the hovercraft.
The troops moved inland to engage with an opposing force entrenched in built-up positions.
Just after midnight, U.S. Army paratroopers of the 11th Airborne Division and Indonesian soldiers parachuted inland from Stanage Bay.
U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Glenn Baker, commanding officer of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment and amphibious landing participant, said it was an honor and a privilege operating alongside German and Japanese troops.
“We’re here with a common purpose. The more we practice together, the better we get at doing this,” said Baker, who commands Battalion Landing Team 2/1.
The U.S., Japan, Australia and other allies and partners are committed to ensuring a free and open Indo-Pacific, and exercises like this deter bad behavior, he added.
German naval infantry Capt. Jonas Limke, 27, a native of Hamburg, Germany, was embedded with U.S. Marines in a convoy moving inland.
“Participating with U.S. Marines and Japanese forces has been a great training opportunity,” he said, noting that it was his first deployment to the Indo-Pacific region and first-time training with troops from both nations.
“We each speak a different language, but we all speak the same military language and make it all work out, achieving the same goals and objectives,” he said. Limke’s home station is the German naval base in Eckernforde on the Baltic Sea.
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Elijah Akashichesser, 20, a native of Chico, California, is a mortarman with Battalion Landing Team 2/1, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit.
He showed his M-60 mortar, which he said has an effective range of 3,490 meters, or about two miles. Akashichesser said he enjoys the adventure of landing in Australia, as his unit is based far away at Camp Pendleton, California.
Besides the adventure, he said there’s a lot of camaraderie between the Marines, German and Japanese troops.
One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Marine Corps, besides firing the M-60, is participating in the Marine Corps’ martial arts program, which borrows from a number of martial arts styles and also teaches use of weapons of opportunity, he said.
This year marks the 10th iteration of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. The spelling of the name — sabre vs. saber — reflects which country is leading the exercise: Talisman Sabre when Australia leads and Talisman Saber when the U.S. leads.
Source : Defense