Soldiers get their boots wet

Landing craft ferried soldiers and vehicles ashore, while CH-47F Chinooks airlifted M777 howitzers to help assure the Australian Amphibious Force for contingency requirements.

CAPTIONArmy soldiers from the Australian Amphibious Force disembark a littoral landing craft during wet-and-dry environment rehearsals at Cowley Beach Training Area. Story and photos by Corporal Michael Rogers.

The activity, known as a wet-and-dry environment rehearsal, also included a simulated mass casualty event with injured personnel returned to HMAS Adelaide by landing craft and helicopter.

Elements from the 3rd Brigade, 5th Aviation Regiment, 17 Sustainment Brigade and Marine Rotational Force – Darwin embarked HMAS Adelaide for the training at Cowley Beach from June 12-20.

The force also completed a shore-to-ship tank recovery serial for the first time, proving a capability for future operations.

An M1A1 Abrams was recovered by an M88 Hercules recovery vehicle onto a Mexeflote anchored to the shore by two LARC-V (lighter, amphibious, resupply, cargo vehicle).

The tank was then winched off the Mexeflote onto Adelaide’s heavy vehicle deck by a 45M recovery vehicle.

Commander 1st (Australian) Division, Major General Ash Collingburn, observed the recovery, noting the soldiers’ ingenuity.

“I think this is a great demonstration of Australia’s focused integrated force. It is all services working together across all five domains, and this is a really tangible demonstration of it,” he said.

CAPTIONA member of aviation support marshals an MH-60R Seahawk on the flight deck of HMAS Adelaide.

The training ranged from simple activities such as safely embarking and disembarking, to transporting vehicles and artillery by landing craft and full mission profiles.

Commander Landing Forces Colonel Judd Finger said the training ensured the force was integrated and ready for contingencies.

“We have been doing continuous work to train to an effective level where we can safely employ Navy and Army elements, whether that’s helicopters, landing craft, or personnel ashore,” he said.

In another first, a space liaison officer from the Joint Force Space Component was on board to provide situational reports, space weather education and knowledge of the space domain.

The activity culminated in a full mission profile, involving amphibious and helicopter-borne troops capturing targets ashore at Cowley Beach and Townsville Field Training Area.

Commander Amphibious Task Force Captain Chris Doherty said the serials were beneficial to ensure the force was ready at a moment’s notice.

“I’ve been exceptionally proud of the way the three services have come together in order to achieve the objective,” he said.

The Australian Amphibious Force will conduct rehearsals later in the year as a lead-up to their regional presence deployment to south-east Asia.

 

CAPTIONMembers of the Australian Amphibious Force launch from the well deck of HMAS Adelaide.


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