U.S., Australian Airmen join forces Down Under for Talisman Saber

  • Published
  • By Lt Col Toni Kemper
  • 13th Air Force Public Affairs
More than 270 U.S. Air Force personnel deployed to Australia to conduct the field training exercise portion of Talisman Saber 2007 from June 18-26. The FTX, Part B of Talisman Saber 2007, was followed by combined training with the Royal Australian Air Force. Part A, which ran May 22-28, was a command post exercise during which RAAF airmen worked out of the Major Richard Bong Air and Space Operations Center at Hickam AFB, Hawaii, with their U.S. Air Force AOC counterparts. 

Exercise Talisman Saber 2007, is a biennial joint training initiative between the U.S. Pacific Command and Australian Defence Force. U.S. forces participating included 10 ships, 100 aircraft, and 20,000 personnel. Australian forces included 20 ships, 25 aircraft and 7,500 personnel. 

During the FTX portion, 37 Airmen from the 613th AOC at Hickam joined forces with their RAAF counterparts in the RAAF's AOC in Canberra, Australia, to provide command and control of combined air, space and information operations. 

"Overall, Talisman Saber 2007 was a great success," said Colonel Michael Boera, Deputy Combined Force Air Component Commander during the exercise. 

"The exercise provided U.S. participants critical insights into the experiences and perspectives of one of our long-standing regional partners. Integrating these perspectives into our strategic and operational processes will reap tremendous benefits in furthering our collective interests to positively impact this theater." 

A Joint Rapid Airfield Construction demonstration during opening ceremonies June 29 (Australian time) at Bradshaw, Australia, culminated with a 15th Airlift Wing C-17 from Hickam AFB, Hawaii, and a RAAF C-17 landing onto a tactical dirt airstrip. The JRAC process showcased U.S. Pacific Command's multi-national force standard operating procedures that enabled a Combined/Joint Engineer Task Force to construct a semi-prepared runway capable of supporting C-17 operations. 

Lt. Gen. Chip Utterback, 13th Air Force commander, along with other dignitaries attended the ceremony and witnessed the JRAC demonstration. During a tour of the C-17 static display that followed, General Utterback congratulated the Hickam crew for nailing a perfect time-on-target landing. 

Other U.S. Air Force support included aerial refueling, airborne command and control, communications support, and an exercise staff element operating out of Brisbane International Airport, Australia. Four KC-135R Stratotankers, crews and support personnel were deployed from the 168th Aerial Refueling Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska; 18th Wing, Kadena AB, Japan; and the Air National Guard's 186th Aerial Refueling Wing, Mississippi. Communications experts and an E-3B Sentry, crew and support personnel were also deployed from Kadena and personnel from Headquarters, 13th Air Force at Hickam comprised the command staff.

Lessons learned and experiences gained during Talisman Saber 2007 will enhance the U.S.-Australian defense capability and interoperability. Furthermore, Talisman Saber 2007 was the first operational test of the Australian Ministry of Defence's newly-commissioned Joint Combined Training Capability facility. 

According to an Australian Defence Ministry statement released June 28 (Australian time), "this new capability gives Australian and United States defence personnel an advanced training system to better prepare for combined operations in increasingly complex environments." 

"The improvement of our combined military training capabilities, and the enhancement of interoperability, is a significant benefit of the ongoing security partnership between Australia and the United States," according to the statement.