NEWS | Aug. 2, 2021

America Expeditionary Strike Group Concludes Participation in Talisman Sabre

By Lt.Cmdr. Sherrie A Flippin Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 7

CORAL SEA -- USS America (LHA 6) Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG), after two weeks of large-scale multinational maritime operations and exercises, alongside partner nations and allies, concluded Talisman Sabre 21, July 31.

Over the course of the exercise, the America ARG-MEU team integrated with the Royal Australian Navy, Royal Canadian Navy, Japan Maritime Self Defense Force, and Republic of Korea Navy for maritime operations further enhancing our ability to respond to crises as part of a joint or combined effort. Partner nations trained together operating in a contested maritime environment while conducting integrated amphibious and air defense operations, as well as tactical maneuvering and replenishments-at-sea.

"During Talisman Sabre our Marines and Sailors were able to hone and demonstrate our ability to fight in a distributed maritime environment alongside our partners and allies," said Col. Michael Nakonieczny, commanding officer, 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). "Talisman Sabre allowed us to focus on littoral training, improve readiness and interoperability, while demonstrating that wherever we go, whatever we do, we do it together."

This was the ninth iteration of the exercise, which is the United States’ largest military exercise with Australia. Through the duration of the exercise, Australia, the U.S., and other partner forces conducted high-end training in complex, multi-domain warfare scenarios at sea, in the littorals and on the ground.

“Every time we get together, it's important to sharpen our skills, but, but more importantly, it's about relationships and establishing those relationships on a tactical level,” said Capt. Greg Baker, commodore, Amphibious Squadron 11. “For us to get to know our partner nations and allies on a tactical level and how they communicate is incredibly important because if something happens and we need to come together we can do that quickly and seamlessly.”

Talisman Sabre is Australia’s largest military exercise with the United States and is a demonstration of our strong alliance that is underpinned by deep levels of cooperation and trust built over decades operating and training together. Despite scaled-down force sizes due to COVID-19 protection measures, TS21 was extremely complex in nature, presenting 21st Century multi-domain challenges to enhance interoperability among participating nations.

"All of our partners have maintained the commitment and capability to operate in the COVID-19 environment," said Rear Adm. Chris Engdahl, commander, ESG 7. 'The flexibility of our militaries to plan in a virtual environment, then move seamlessly to a meaningful, persistent and complex exercise clearly demonstrates that our multinational force is resilient and always combat ready."

At the heart of Talisman Sabre, the U.S.-Australia alliance dates back more than 100 years, encompassing every modern world conflict since World War I. Maintaining and building trust with like-minded allies and partners is crucial to a free and open Indo-Pacific.

"Working alongside allies and seeing their proficiency and how it mirrors ours has been eye opening. I have great confidence that if required to fight together, we would not only fight, we would prevail," said Nakonieczny.

Together, the forward-deployed ships of ESG 7 and elements of the 31st MEU are operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility to enhance interoperability with allies and partners and serve as a ready response force to defend peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.

TS21 is a large-scale, bilateral military exercise between Australia and the U.S. involving more than 17,000 participants from seven nations. It is a demonstration of our strong alliance underpinned by deep levels of cooperation and trust built over decades operating and training together. TS21 advances the Indo-Pacific Pathway’s initiative to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability with allies and partners. TS21 also supports the U.S. National Defense Strategy by enhancing our ability to protect the homeland and address the full range of potential security concerns in the Indo-Pacific.