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SABINA POINT, Australia - Members of Beachmaster Unit (BMU) 1 and Assault Craft Unit (ACU) 5 conducted training with beachmasters of the 35th Water Transport Squadron (WTS) of the Australian Defence Force at Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Sabina Point, Australia, July 15.
Both units trained the 35th WTS on conducting beach surveys, proper operating procedures for landing craft air cushions (LCAC), signaling and the duties and responsibilities of being a beachmaster.
“We are here to learn the proper procedures for the amphibious craft participating in Talisman Sabre and ramp up our military knowledge,” said Australian Maj. Grant Shottenkirk, commanding officer of the 10th Force Support Battalion. “We are [also] assisting BMU 1 with clearing the beach, providing mobility matting and helping to offload the 31st MEU for the upcoming exercises.”
The Australian Army provided BMU 1 with a dozer to clear the beach if necessary, mobility matting to make it easier to drive on the sand and their lighter amphibious resupply cargo vehicles (LARC-V) to assist with the beach surveys.
“Being a part of Talisman Sabre, we get this opportunity to work with our sister nations, share our ideas, introduce different types of equipment and understand how each unit operates,” said CWO4 David Fonner, BMU 1 Det. officer-in-charge. “The Australians have been 100 percent supportive and have assisted with a lot of the coordination of the exercise.”
Fonner and his beachmaster crew showed the beachmasters of 35th WTS how BMU sets up and runs a craft landing zone, signals for the LCACs and learned how to communicate with the ACU to reposition the craft on the beach.
“We learned about the capabilities, strengths and weaknesses of the LCACs and how they work since this is our first time seeing them,” said Australian Signalman Anoulak Sikhamphing, 17th Signal Regiment of Sydney. “We also compared the LCACs to the craft we have.”
BMU 1 and ACU 5 are embarked aboard the forward-deployed amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown (LSD 42) and are currently participating in exercise Talisman Sabre 2011 with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU).
Talisman Sabre 2011 is a biennial training activity aimed at improving and validating the Australian Defense Force and United States combat readiness and interoperability as a combined joint task force. It also provides an opportunity to conduct operations that will increase both countries’ bilateral war-fighting capabilities to respond to crises and provide humanitarian assistance.
Germantown, commanded by Cmdr. A. D. Hull, is part of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group which reports to Commander, Amphibious Force Seventh Fleet, Rear Adm. J. Scott Jones, who is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan.