Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, along with members of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), embarked the forward-deployed amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the flagship of the Bonhomme Richard Amphibious Ready Group (ARG), for the joint-force exercise Talisman Saber 2013 (TS13) July 13.
Talisman Saber is a biennial training exercise aimed at improving the combat training, readiness, and interoperability of a combined U.S.-Australian task force.
Embarking members of the RAN on Bonhomme Richard, in addition to the RAN ships participating in the exercise, allows key staff members to work side by side with U.S. forces and synchronize their planning and operational procedures as a combined task force.
“Talisman Saber 2013 is designed to enhance our interoperability with the Australian Defense Forces, our long standing partners in this region,” said Harley. “The embark of Australian Naval officers aboard Bonhomme Richard will allow us to more closely integrate our staffs during this complex bi-lateral, combined and joint exercise.”
While embarked on Bonhomme Richard for TS13, Harley, as Commander of the Amphibious Force, is responsible for five subordinate commands: Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 11, the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), the Australian Amphibious Task Group, the 2nd Royal Australian Regiment, and the Sea Combat Commander.
Together, these commands will train to ensure Australian and U.S. forces are capable, deployable on short notice, and combat-ready.
The Bonhomme Richard ARG is commanded by Capt. Cathal O’Connor, commodore, PHIBRON 11 and reports to the Commander, Amphibious Force 7th Fleet, Rear Adm. Jeffrey A. Harley, headquartered in White Beach, Okinawa, Japan.
Press Release, July 15, 2013; Image: Talisman Saber