CAMP ROCKY, Queensland, Australia -- More than 2,000 Marines and Sailors with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived here to participate in exercise Talisman Saber 2013, a multilateral exercise taking place in a number of locations in Australia from July 15 – Aug. 5.
Talisman Saber 2013 officially kicked off with an opening ceremony at the Rockhampton show grounds July 14, with an estimated 15,000 local visitors passing through a variety of U.S. and
Australian static displays featuring military personnel and equipment, enjoying live music and food from local vendors.
“We’ve been looking forward to this (opening ceremony) for some time,” said Karon Gleadhill, a citizen of Rockhampton who brought her three children to the fairgrounds. “The kids just love this. They love seeing the (U.S. service members) and all their kit.”
The Marines of the 31st MEU will train alongside a joint U.S. force that totals approximately 18,000 personnel, as well as approximately 9,000 Australian service members in the fifth iteration of
Talisman Saber, a biennial exercise designed to enhance multilateral collaboration in support of future combined operations as well as natural disaster and humanitarian emergency response.
“This is a premier opportunity to refine and improve our amphibious operations skills by working with and learning from the Australian Defence Force,” said Col. John Merna, commanding officer, 31st MEU. “Talisman Saber is an ideal exercise for Expeditionary Strike Group 7 and the 31st MEU to demonstrate the full range of operational amphibious capabilities to our Australian partners as we work with them to reinvigorate their own amphibious capabilities.”
The 31st MEU forces will train primarily in Rockhampton, the maritime areas of the Coral Sea, and the Australian ranges that include Shoalwater Bay Training Area and Townsville Field Training Area.
The exercise features a nine-day, simultaneous integrated command post exercise and field training exercise, and culminates in a weeklong combined, joint live-fire exercise starting July 30.
The 31st MEU is the Marine Corps’ force in readiness for the Asia Pacific region and the only continuously forward-deployed MEU.