US Navy visits Sydney before Exercise TALISMAN SABRE

Published on SBLT Myf Austin-Eames (author), ABIS Tom Gibson (photographer)

Location(s): Sydney, New South Wales

Commander Australian Maritime Warfare Centre, Captain Guy Holthouse AO, RAN, welcomes Commanding Officer USS Antietam, Captain Michael McCartney (right) to Fleet Base East during a port visit to Sydney before the commencement of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.  (photo: ABIS Tom Gibson)
Commander Australian Maritime Warfare Centre, Captain Guy Holthouse AO, RAN, welcomes Commanding Officer USS Antietam, Captain Michael McCartney (right) to Fleet Base East during a port visit to Sydney before the commencement of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

On a grey Sydney morning, two United States Navy Ships, Antietam and Mustin pulled into Garden Island, Sydney for a five day port visit period prior to Exercise TALISMAN SABER 2015.

Since departing Yokusuka, Japan, Commanding Officer USS Antietam, Captain Michael McCartney said his ship’s company have been looking forward to arriving in the harbour city.

“We have been at sea for about 45 days and for about 44 of those days we have been anticipating arriving in Sydney.  It’s a fabulous port.”

While in town, personnel from the US 7th Fleet Cruiser and Destroyer will share knowledge with their Australian colleagues.

Sailors from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam adjust their connecting lines on the rear of their ship during a port visit to Sydney before the commencement of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

Sailors from the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Antietam adjust their connecting lines on the rear of their ship during a port visit to Sydney before the commencement of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015.

“We’re taking part in a war-fighter exchange to talk tactics. We do it on a regular basis.  Every couple of years a ships’ crew completely rotates, so it’s important each generation of sailor and officer, reconnect with Australian counterparts,” Captain McCartney said.

“After Sydney, we leave and go into a major exercise – TALISMAN SABRE.” 

“TALISMAN SABRE is an opportunity for our countries, as well as the Army and Air Force, and inter-agency groups to come together and work to make our lines of communication and interoperability as good as they can be,” Captain McCartney said.

TALISMAN SABRE 15 is the largest combined military exercise undertaken by the Australian Defence Force.  The bilateral exercise, now in its sixth iteration, involves around 30,000 Australian and US participants with planning and military operations at sea, in the air, and on land. It exposes participants to a wide spectrum of military capabilities and training experiences. 

“Australia and America have a relationship that is unique in this region of the world; it provides a tremendous amount of stability,” Captain McCartney said.

USS Antietam, a Ticonderoga class Cruiser with a crew of 370 is the air-defence commander of the 7th Fleet Strike Group.

“We are responsible for the safety of our aircraft and aircraft that approach our strike group as we manoeuvre internationally. We carry air-defence missiles, as well as guns and most importantly our radar allows us to see fairly far out.  Communications engineers ensure that this all that works together and that we see the same situation so we can make good decisions,” Captain McCartney said.

Antietam and Mustin are not the only ships from the United States Navy visiting Australian ports, with the USS George Washington visiting Brisbane at the same time.