CAMP ROCKY, Rockhampton, Australia --
From a distance, it looked like a normal training exercise taking place on any U.S. military installation, but up-close it looked a bit unusual.
The U.S. Marines were training Australian soldiers on weapons drills here as part of Talisman Sabre 2011.
“A weapons drill is an exercise where we move a weapon system from one location to another in as little time as possible,” said Sgt. Todd Martin, with Battalion Landing Team 2nd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit. “The purpose of learning these drills is to know how to get a better advantage on our enemies when in a firefight.”
To kick off the training, Marines conducted two demonstrations in a grassy area about the size of a soccer field.
The Marines taught weapons drills with a 60 mm mortar, a M2 .50-caliber machine gun and a Mark 19 automatic grenade launcher.
Then it was the Australian Defence Force service members' turn.
With assistance from Marines, the ADF troops completed two weapons drills. Drills consisted of running across a field to emplace and assemble the weapon systems.
“That was bonza, mate,” Craftsman Carl Norling, 6th Aviation Regiment with the Australian army, said after completing the drills.
Bonza is Australian slang for excellent.
“The drills were pretty difficult, but it was still a lot of fun," Norling said. "Plus, the Marines training us were a good bunch of guys. They were fun to learn from, and they were always good for a chat.”
Weapons drills are only a small part of what the Marines are doing at Talisman Sabre 2011.
The overall focus of Talisman Sabre 2011 is to train U.S. and Australian forces to plan and conduct Combined Task Force operations to improve combat readiness and interoperability.
“We are here to build better partnerships with Australian and U.S. forces, and this has been a great opportunity to do just that,” said Martin.
“Any chance I get to work with military members from other nations is always a great experience," he said. "The Aussies remind me a lot of my own unit; they joke around and love to have fun, all awhile getting the job done.”