Australian Army Capt. Kevin Jolley is one of 260 augmentees who recently checked in aboard the U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) prior to exercise Talisman Sabre. (U.S. Navy/MC2 Indra Bosko)

SYDNEY - More than 260 military and civilian augmentees from Australia and the U.S. arrived on board U.S. 7th Fleet flagship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19) July 6, bringing additional manpower and capabilities to the 7th Fleet staff prior to the start of exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

Talisman Sabre 2015 is a bilateral combined joint exercise between the Australian and U.S. militaries. More than 30,000 personnel will participate in this biennial military training in various locations throughout Australia during July.

“The augmentees bring in the additional capability and capacity to our current 7th Fleet staff,” said Exercise Talisman Sabre Co-Lead Cmdr. Mike Bisbee. Bisbee particularly emphasized the augmentees’ abilities “to command and control” a large force with multiple services and communities represented.

“Get involved, get active, be absolutely absorbed in the scenarios and be a part of the exercise,” said Air Commodore Chris Westwood of the Royal Australian Air Force to the augmentees during indoctrination.

Lt. Col. Nick Bolton, an augmentee from Australia’s 1st Division Army, praised 7th Fleet Sailors’ professionalism in preparation for the exercise. “The hospitality and friendship that has been extended aboard the 7th Fleet flagship strengthens the relationship between the Australian and U.S. defense forces,” said Bolton.

Talisman Sabre is the largest Australia-U.S. bilateral exercise, and provides a realistic and challenging training environment to practice readiness and interoperability between the two nations’ and enhance contributions to security and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

“I’m here to not only use my skills, but to also maintain a good relationship with my allies,” said Capt. Kevin Jolley from Australia’s 1st Division Army. “As a junior officer, Talisman Sabre gives me the opportunity to work at a high level command.”

Talisman Sabre aims to improve Australian and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability, maximize combined training opportunities and demonstrate U.S. resolve to support the security operations of a key ally.