During Exercise Malabar, sailors from participating nations swapped decks to share their skills and knowledge across the multinational maritime force.
CAPTION: Commanding Officer HMAS Brisbane Commander Kingsley Scarce, Royal Australian Navy, right, with United States Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Owen Buck on the forecastle of HMAS Brisbane during Exercise Malabar off the coast of NSW. Story by Lieutenant Marcus Middleton. Photo by Leading Seaman Matthew Lyall.
The four-nation group, comprising the Royal Australian Navy, Indian Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and United States Navy participated in a series of exercises focusing on increasing engagement and interoperability.
Along with sharing air, sea and land-based tactics, information and hardware, Commanding Officer HMAS Brisbane Commander Kingsley Scarce said it was also important to share in people-to-people experiences.
“To become a truly interoperable force it is essential that our sailors integrate so that they are comfortable living, working and serving together,” he said.
“True interoperability means that our sailors and those from our regional partners can work shoulder-to-shoulder in any environment.”
Commander Scarce, who was born in the United States (US), invited a US sailor on board Brisbane to work alongside his crew.
“While the leadership teams of our regional partners already enjoy close relationships, to achieve real cohesion it’s essential that we forge stronger friendships right through the ranks,” Commander Scarce said.
US Navy Petty Officer Second Class Owen Buck, who serves on USS Rafael Peralta, said he was thrilled to be invited onto Brisbane for the duration of the exercise.
“My captain came up to me and asked if I would like to go underway with the Australians, and there was no way I could turn that down. I’m very excited to be here,” he said.
Petty Officer Buck, from Tennessee, said Australian voyages were highly sought after for partner navies.
“It’s definitely a prized experience and a lot of US sailors think we’re very lucky to come down here, and we are, I love it,” he said.
In addition, Petty Officer Buck said it wasn’t just a job perk to serve on a Royal Australian Navy ship, but a highly enriching and educating experience.
“I’ve already seen a number of things to bring back to my ship as a potentially more efficient way of doing things,” Petty Officer Buck said.
“I’m also sharing my experiences on my ship and our procedures to provide feedback on how we can do things together, cross country.”