ADF’s biggest combined joint exercise has finished for another
year, Lt Simone Heyer had the chance to get among the action.
tucker: Pte Luke Lecek, 15 Tpt Sqn, and CS2 Manuel Urbaina
prepare dinner at Camp Rocky’s mess. Photo by Lt Simone
IT DEFINITELY wasn’t a case of turning a loaf of bread and a handful
of fish into a bounty for thousands for the joint combined catering
crew on Exercise Talisman Sabre 05.
Culinary Specialist Chief US Navy Chief Petty Officer Paul Modzelewski,
Navy Cargo Handling Bn 8, said the kitchen’s team of 30 catering
staff fed about 700 people three meals a day. And as the war wound
down numbers increased to 1400 as people moved into Camp Rocky
PO Modzelweski said the key to having happy patrons was keeping
meals simple – with plenty of variety.
“We have a lot of steak, pasta, barramundi and chicken dishes
– with pizza,” he said.
“We’ve have five choices of main meals, they’re all very nice.”
He was confident the quality of mess food took business from the
Frontline Eagle Boys pizza van on base.
He said with a mixed crew of half ADF and American personnel,
the meals were a combination of Australian and American influence.
“We’ve had cheese steaks, and creamed beef with biscuits – which
didn’t go down too well with the Aussies.”
WO2 Scott Falls, 9FSB, head caterer for the exercise, said the
Americans didn’t quite warm to tinned spagetti and baked beans
He said that most food from the mess was well received.
“Catering has been topping the survey poll for quantity and quality
on the exercise,” he said.
“The sandwich bar has been a big hit – we like to give a bit of
variety to keep morale up, and not everyone likes eating a hot
meal for lunch.”
Despite the high numbers being catered for, WO2 Falls said there
were less people eating than originally planned.
He said the catering motto was “we sustain” and the catering crew
certainly did that.
WO2 Falls said over a two-day period, personnel at Camp Rocky
consumed 500 loaves of bread, 300kg potatoes, 700kg of meat and
2000 litres of milk.
With all that food there should be no complaints – but if there
were, the catering crew directed personnel to a Combat Ration
WO2 Falls said friendship and skills had been exchanged between
the Australian and US troops and they had an enjoyable time working
Showcase of skills
A soldier from 3RAR leaves Kapyong DZ. Photo by Cpl Bernard
MEMBERS of the Airborne Battle Group (ABG) demonstrated the potency
of the ADF’s airborne capability in north Queensland as part of
Exercise Talisman Sabre.
CO 3RAR Lt-Col Adam Findlay said the Australian ABG parachute
assaulted into Kapyong Drop Zone in Shoalwater Bay Training Area.
Hours earlier, the US Army 1/501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
had jumped in, having deployed directly from Alaska in C-17s.
“The pathfinding was provided by SASR free-fall patrols alongside
3RAR and A Bty Recon elements who inserted by air-mobile from
USS Boxer,” Lt-Col Findlay said.
“The ABG is a high-readines organisation based around the 3RAR
light infantry battalion and incorporates specialist support from
A Bty 4 Fd Regt, 1HSB Parachute Surgical Team, RAAF mobile air
control element, signalmen from 3CSR and 7 Sig Regt, a 3CER engineer
troop and HQ 3 Bde command elements.”
He said the ABG provided ADF combat commanders the capability
to project at very short notice and force-generate a light infantry
battle group anywhere within the flying radius of a C130.
“The unique feature of the airborne parachute assault is that
it is not dependant on having to airland at a secured airfield,”
“The jump was completed through closely-integrated joint planning
from six RAAF C-130s and included more than 300 paratroopers along
with vehicles, rations and supplies to enable the battle group
to rapidly transition to light infantry operations to complete
Lt-Col Findlay said that once on the ground, the ABG seized and
opened the Williamson Airfield, allowing other force elements
to be flown into theatre or build up from the amphibious lodgement.
He said throughout the exercise, the ABG demonstrated tits core
capabilities as a combined arms light infantry battle group by
conducting airmobile, vehicle- mounted and foot operations throughout
the AO. The tactical manoeuvre was supported by Leopard Tanks
from 1 Bde’s Deployable Battle Group and 1/501PIR.
The ABG’s airborne entry is designed to complement the Amphibious
Battle Group entering from RAN ships. Having two battle groups
projecting simultaneously allows the ADF rapidly build up a brigade
in a well practised entry from the air and sea operation.
“Talisman Sabre was an excellent opportunity to showcase the wide
range of the ABG’s capabilities and to fully integrate with allied
airborne forces as part of a larger entry organisation,” Lt-Col
Add air for joint health
Lt Simone Heyer
WHEN someone says inflatable hospital, images of a jumping castle
filled with doctors spring to mind.
This couldn’t be farther from the truth for visitors and patients
to RAAF Base Richmond’s 3 Air Transportable Hospital that deployed
on Exercise Talisman Sabre.
3ATH’s medical and support team has been waiting keenly for a
chance to deploy the hospital, which previously has only participated
CO 3ATH Wing Commander Steve Davis said the Expeditionary Health
Facility Level 3 (EHFL3) had deployed to the exercise to provide
in the field what a small hospital would.
“We have the capability here to do initial wound and life-saving
surgery, then transport patients to other care,” he said.
The hospital has two rotary wing aircraft at its disposal.
“Kinds of injuries we see are normal for the environment. Military
operations are inherently dangerous. From parachute jumps we see
lower limb or head trauma injuries, as well as road accident casualties,
snake bite and flu outbreaks, Wg-Cmdr Davis said.
He said the hospital had only seen minor injuries and sickness.
“There have been very few casualties,” he said.
While the US had a floating level 3 health facility, its land
forces could use the ADF’s hospital.
“We’re prepared to give ADF and US personnel the best care possible
in the event of a casualty,” Wg-Cmdr Davis said.
He said the EHFL3 could provide emergency medical support within
four hours of touching the ground in an emergency.
For exercise Talisman Sabre, hospital staff were given the benefit
of time to set up completely before the FTX started.
It took 48 hours to set up the 18 tents of the hospital, which
is rolled out, then supports are inflated to give the tents a
Inside the inflatable tents’ sandcoloured walls lies a rabbit’s
warren of rooms connected by completely covered walkways, creating
a totally sealed environment.
Everything looks and smells clean, medical personnel sit at computer
terminals or check equipment. It’s quiet and relaxed, but at a
moment’s notice, the area would turn into a highly-efficient care-giving
48 health care members were on staff at the hospital, a mixture
of full-time Air Force and specialist reserves. Wg- Cmdr Davis
said the two combined well to provide a full suite of care.
A 50-person combat support element attended the hospital.
Wg-Cmdr Davis said a validation team assessed the hospital’s conduct
during the exercise to make it part of Orbat.
A Black Hawk from 5 Avn Regt is secured by a chok and chain crew
after landing on the USS Boxer’s flight deck during Exercise Talisman
Sabre. 5 Avn Regt completed the amphibious landings as the exercise
drew to a close.
The exercise provided the first opportunity to operate 5 Avn Regt’s
Blawk Hawks on board a US Navy ship. Over a 10-day period the
Black Hawks completed more than 1200 take-offs and landings, exceeding
160 hours of flight time. Capt Andre Smith, 5 Avn Regt, said landing
on the Boxer was very different as the pilots were used to landing
on small ships. He said it was great to work in a coalition environment,
learning how the US did business.
Photo by Cpl Rachel Ingram