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Tortuga Makes Talisman Saber 07 Training a Success

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070629-24
Release Date: 6/29/2007 2:54:00 PM

By Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Brandon A. Myrick, USS Tortuga Public Affairs

USS TORTUGA, At Sea (NNS) -- For more than two weeks, USS Tortuga (LSD 46) along with embarked Marines and midshipmen on summer cruise have been participating in Talisman Saber 2007 alongside their Australian counterparts.

Tortuga Sailors began the backload of the 3d Expeditionary Brigade’s 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the ship June 28, putting a final stamp on what has been successful maneuvers to put forces ashore to conduct exercise objectives.

Throughout the exercise, Tortuga Sailors operated soundly within the combined sea echelon by launching and recovering landing craft air cushions (LCACs) and handling both U.S. and Australian helicopters. The overall impact was getting people and cargo where it needed to be and showcasing interoperability between the forces, said Tortuga’s senior leaders.

Talisman Saber, a U.S.- and Australian-led joint task force operation preparing both militaries for crisis-action planning and execution of contingency operations. More than 20,000 U.S. and 12,000 Australian personnel participated in the military training exercise and each branch of the military trained together to enhance their combined and joint warfighting skills.

Tortuga Sailors trained side by side with the Australian military, providing an opportunity to practice working together in a combined and joint environment, test interoperability and refine procedures and doctrine.

“Training along side the Australian military was an opportunity for the Sailors to receive the training they require being on a forward-deployed ship,” said Tortuga’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Todd A. Lewis. “I commend ‘Team Tortuga’ for all their hard work and dedication.”

Throughout the exercise, Tortuga’s well deck and flight deck were always ready to go, as personnel and cargo were in constant motion. Even with the high operational tempo, Tortuga Sailors rose to the challenge, safely and proficiently.

“The evolutions were conducted safely and flawlessly throughout the entire training cycle,” said Chief Boatswain’s Mate (SW/AW) Earnest C. Pippen. “I give the credit to the training teams designated to train junior Sailors, and the junior Sailors hard work and willingness to learn.”

Highlighting the evolutions required of the ship during the exercise was a refueling at sea with an Australian refueling vessel, sustaining Tortuga and its warfighting capabilities.

“Deck Department ensured the highest level of readiness while conducting the various training exercises,” said Pippen. “The crew always kept a positive attitude even with the high demands of this exercise.”

Quartermaster Seaman Kevin Bell, who was able to observe and work as part of the navigation team in combined ships movements said, “It was an honor to work with [the Australians] and I learned so much about how they operate.”

Tortuga embarked several midshipmen who received firsthand training on what a forward-deployed ship such as Tortuga does and how much work goes into a training scenario such as Talisman Saber.

“Deck Department assisted with providing us LCAC rides, small boat transfers and tours in various helicopter exercises,” said Midshipman 2nd Class Brittney Lambert. “I appreciate all their effort and I had a great time on board Tortuga.”

The exercise is designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces, demonstrating their commitment to military alliance and regional security. The exercise also supports increased flexibility and readiness, which are force multipliers in winning the global war on terrorism.

Tortuga is a dock landing ship serving under Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 7/Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. ESG 7/Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan.

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