Australian hospitality a highlight of RIMPAC

This article has photo gallery Published on LEUT Andrew Ragless (author), ABIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Honolulu, Hawaii

Topic(s): HMAS Canberra (L02), Exercise RIMPAC

L-R Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Kale Strawbridge, USMC Sergeant Spenser Spuck, USMC Sergeant Mitchell Garino, and Able Seaman Musician Luke Stanley meet on the flight deck of HMAS Canberra during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.  (photo: ABIS Steven Thomson)
L-R Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Kale Strawbridge, USMC Sergeant Spenser Spuck, USMC Sergeant Mitchell Garino, and Able Seaman Musician Luke Stanley meet on the flight deck of HMAS Canberra during Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.

Beards and Vegemite were among the curiosities when more than 130 United States Marines embarked in HMAS Canberra for the sea phase of Exercise Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2016.

Visiting troops wasted no time in delving into the ship’s supply of Milo and Vegemite.

As policies on beards and moustaches were compared and envied, new friendships were formed.

Predominately from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, the Marines joined a 500-strong embarked Amphibious Ready Element headed up by the Australian Army’s 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and incorporating infantry from the New Zealand Army and His Majesty’s Armed Forces (Tonga).

The amphibious element were landed on the island of Hawaii by Canberra for ten days of live fire and tactical field training in the Pohakuloa Training Area before re-embarking for a “freeplay” amphibious assault at Bellows Beach, Oahu.

Joint Terminal Attack Controller Sergeant Mitchell Garino from the 6th Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company in Washington State said the Australian hospitality was a highlight.

“The coffee is good, and the food in the chow hall has been awesome,” he said.

“The time onboard has also given us an opportunity to see how Australians do their business."

“There are some things we do the same, some things we do differently, but at the end of the day it’s about making new friends, learning from each other and sharing ideas.”

Assault Guide, Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Kale Strawbridge said the ship’s company were eager to work with Marines.

“They’re fun, very professional in the way they do their business and they’ve got lots of experience to share,” he said.

“We’re very excited to show off the new ship but also to take the opportunity to learn from our guests.”