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Units Conduct Complex Logistics Operation at Talisman Sabre 23

A ferry carrying heavy equipment makes landfall in Bowen, Australia, July 31, 2023. Soldiers, sailors and Coast Guardsmen assigned to Joint Task Force 7 are conducting logistics over-the-shore operations during Talisman Sabre 23, a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. (Army photo by Sgt. Brandon Scheer)

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Units participating in Exercise Talisman Sabre 23 have cleared a key milestone as part of a large-scale, joint logistics operation to bring ashore heavy military equipment from ships stationed off the coast of central Queensland, Australia.


Just after daybreak on Monday, Army Col. Samuel S. Miller, the commander of a joint task force comprised of U.S. Army, Navy and Coast Guard units escorted a large ferry that was shuttling heavy bulldozers and other equipment. The ferry carried equipment needed to make final preparations to the shoreline before the arrival of combat equipment and supplies.  


As Miller stepped foot onto the sandy shore, the unit took a major step in a long journey toward accomplishing its mission.  


"Joint logistics over the shore is one of the most complex operations being conducted as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 23," said Miller, who commands the Army's 7th Transportation Brigade (Expeditionary) headquartered at Fort Eustis, Virginia. "The JLOTS operation is a great example of our U.S. and Australia partnership at work."


Over the coming days, soldiers and sailors will make final improvements to the shoreline and complete construction of a modular causeway system linking the USNS Maj. Bernard F. Fisher, a Navy maritime prepositioning force ship, and the USNS Bob Hope, a vehicle cargo ship, to shore.  


The capability provides a key logistic advantage for combat forces operating in areas lacking port infrastructure and can also be used to shuttle supplies to shore during humanitarian assistance operations. 


"In this scenario, we don't have access to a port, and so, essentially, we're creating one," said Army Maj. Ryan Campbell, supporting operations officer for the 7th Transportation Brigade and joint operations officer for the exercise. 


Over the course of 10 days, the units assigned to the mission are building the causeway at sea from sections offloaded from the supply ships. They will piece together an 1,800-foot modular pier, known as a Trident Pier, to provide the final linkage to bring the equipment onshore.  


Campbell said by demonstrating the capability, the task force is echoing the strategic message that the U.S. and its allies are committed to a free and open Indo-Pacific.


"We can kind of go and provide this capability at a time and place of the Army commander's choosing without the typical limitations," he said. "We're not constrained to already built, fixed ports if we have to get closer to where a logistics capability is needed." 


Demonstrating the capability as part of Talisman Sabre also provides service members with the critical experience of carrying out complex operations in a joint environment and alongside U.S. allies.  


This year marks the 10th iteration of Talisman Sabre, a biennial exercise designed to advance a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening partnerships and interoperability among key allies. The spelling of the name — sabre vs. saber — reflects which country is leading the exercise: Talisman Sabre when Australia leads and Talisman Saber when the U.S. leads.   


Nearly 30,000 troops from 13 different countries are participating this year. Several Pacific Island partners — including Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Tonga — are participating for the first time. 


The 15-day exercise includes a variety of large-scale logistics and amphibious assault training operations and multinational firepower demonstrations and field training exercises throughout Australia. 


Several units from across the services form the task force assigned with the JLOTS mission for the exercise.  


Soldiers from the 7th Transportation Brigade are joined by fellow soldiers from the 86th Engineer Dive Detachment, also based out of Fort Eustis, Virginia, and the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced, which is based in Anchorage, Alaska. 


"This is the first mission I've been on where I'm supporting any type of videos or water movement," said Army Spc. Cody Davis, an information technology specialist with the 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion – Enhanced. "Usually, we're supporting infantry units such as the 25th [Infantry Division]."


"It's very interesting to see how different pieces of the puzzle are coming together," he said.



In addition to the Army units, Sailors from the Navy's Amphibious Construction Battalion 1, based out of Coronado, California, are providing construction and heavy equipment support for the mission. The Coast Guard's Port Security Unit 312, based out of San Francisco, is also on hand to provide port security aboard patrol craft operating in the area.


"This is definitely the biggest scale project I've done in my seven-year career," said Navy Petty Officer Jared Tyre, an equipment operator assigned to Amphibious Construction Battalion 1. "It's cool to see how [the Army] operates with their maritime operations. We're able to learn some things and also able to teach others." 


Tyre said the opportunity to come to Australia has also been a dream come true.  


"I've always wanted to come here," he said. "It's phenomenal."

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