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Australian Helo Squadron Completes Mission with Boxer

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS050624-08
Release Date: 6/24/2005 11:32:00 AM

By Lithographer’s Mate Seaman Jessica R. Vargas, USS Boxer Public Affairs

ABOARD USS BOXER (NNS) -- Pilots and crewmen from Australia’s 5th Aviation Regiment completed amphibious landings June 22 along with members of the USS Boxer (LHD 4) Amphibious Ready Group as Exercise Talisman Saber 2005 began to draw to a close.

This exercise provided the first opportunity to operate Australian Blackhawks aboard a U.S Navy ship. The Blackhawks, which Boxer embarked shortly after the ship departed Townsville, Australia, June 12, completed more than 1,200 take-offs and landings, exceeding 160 hours of flight time.

Key operations completed by 5th Aviation Regiment members in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, near Rockhampton, Australia, included the deployment of Australian troops from Boxer to selected landing zones for amphibious field training, vertical replenishments and search-and-rescue drills.

“Boxer is very different for us. We’re used to landing on small ships in very tight spots,” said Australian Air Force Capt. Andre Smith. “It’s great working in a coalition environment interoperating with other arms and learning how the United States does business.”

Before the landings began, though, 5th Aviation Regiment pilots had to complete extensive deck landing qualifications during day and night operations.

“Both forces have learned so much from each other. Being able to work this closely with the Australians has been a unique experience,” Aviation Boatswain’s 2nd Class Steven Vlasich said.

Talisman Saber is a multinational exercise involving more than 17,000 service members from the Australian and U.S. forces. The knowledge shared between U.S. and Australian forces will serve as a solid foundation for future allied operations as the need may arise.


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