LAVARACK BARRACKS, QUEENSLAND, Australia --
The Marine Corps is world renowned for its amphibious capabilities. Whether it’s conducting amphibious assaults, or humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations, the Marine Corps has earned the reputation as an elite amphibious fighting force.
It is because of this reputation, that Australia asked U.S. Marines to help extend their knowledge of amphibious operations, as they begin to develop their own amphibious capabilities.
From August 1-3, several key leaders with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit were in Queensland, to share their vast insight of amphibious operations with Australian soldiers from the 3rd Headquarters Brigade.
“Over the past three days we have shared our knowledge of amphibious operations with the Australian forces as they begin to develop their own amphibious force,” said Sgt. Maj. Gonzalo “Butch” Vasquez, the sergeant major of the 31st MEU. “It is very complex, but I am positive that the Australian Defence Force will achieve their goal of creating an amphibious force.”
Due to their area of operations, and the extensive time spent at sea, Marines with the 31st MEU were perfectly suited to share their knowledge.
“This is what Marines do,” said Australia soldier Lt. Col. Charles Weller, the commanding officer of 4th regiment. “Particularly the 31st MEU, they live, breathe and sleep amphibious operations.”
As the exercise progressed, and the Marines and Australian soldiers began to warm-up to each other, it was easy to see that friendships were being made.
“The Marines were very accommodating,” said Weller. “They took the time to answer all of our questions and were really helpful throughout the entire exercise.”
The exercise also helped strengthen ties between the U.S. and Australia.
“Anytime we get a chance to share our knowledge with a close ally like Australia, we are not only strengthening our military-to-military ties, we are also building onto the trust and friendship that we already share,” said Col. Andrew R. MacMannis, the commanding officer of the 31st MEU.
Over the three day period, the Australians took full advantage of the opportunity to learn from the Marines.
“During this exercise I have relearned some of the complexities of an amphibious force,” said Wallace. “We still have a lot left to learn though, over the past three days we have only scratched the surface of amphibious operations. I believe we have started a direct relationship between the 31st MEU and 3rd Brigade, so I hope to build upon that relationship and keep in contact with them as time goes on so we can continue to learn from them.”
As the exercise came to an end, it was easy to see that it was a mutually beneficial to both sides involved.
“This has been a fantastic opportunity for the 31st MEU’s staff to train with the Australians, as they build and shape their amphibious capabilities,” said Vasquez. “The exercise has been fun both professionally and personally, and our interaction with our Australian brothers and sisters has truly exemplified the friendship that our two countries presently enjoy.”
The 31st MEU is the only continuously forward-deployed MEU and remains the nation’s force in readiness in the Asia-Pacific region.