Talisman Sabre kicks off aboard USS Bonhomme Richard off Sydney

The official Talisman Sabre 2017 flag is revealed at the ceremony

Spreading out the Talisman Sabre 2017 ceremonial flag aboard the USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) off the coast of Sydney Australia on June 29 senior leaders of the United States and Australia kicked off Australia’s largest military exercise.

In its 7th iteration, Talisman Sabre is a biennial exercise that unites more than 33,000 U.S. and Australian personnel to build on partnerships, interoperability and the ability to respond to contingencies in the region.

“The U.S. Pacific Command is proud to partner w/our Australian allies to train for high-end war fighting scenarios during Talisman Sabre,” said Adm. Harry Harris, commander, U.S. Pacific Command, the senior U.S. military representative at the ceremony.

Minister for Urban Development, Paul Fletcher, representing the Minister for Defence, and the US Charge d’Affaires, James Carouso, officially announced the start of the combined military exercise taking place from late June through to late July.

Field training will occur in Shoalwater Bay Training Area, near Rockhampton and Mount Bundy Training Area, south of Darwin.

For Talisman Sabre 2017, Bonhomme Richard, flagship of a Taslisman Sabre combined expeditionary strike group (ESG), will operate side-by-side with Australian Flagship and amphibious assault unit HMAS Canberra. A Royal Australian Navy staff will embark Bonhomme Richard to perform duties as Sea Combat Commander, to manage the maneuvers and coordinate the subsurface and surface defense of the ESG. Adelaide-class guided-missile frigate HMAS Darwin will be in charge of the air defense of the ESG while partnered with USS John S. McCain (DDG 56).

Australia’s Chief of Joint Operations Vice Admiral David Johnston said the exercise is important to highlight and certify the interoperability between the forces.

“Talisman Sabre is the premier Australia‑United States bilateral exercise,” Vice Admiral Johnston said.

“This year, we are pleased to see personnel from New Zealand, Japan and Canada embedded within Australian and United States units.”

Personnel will also operate from Australia in Darwin, Townsville, Brisbane, Newcastle and Canberra; and from the United States in Hawaii, Indiana, Virginia, Colorado and Washington.

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