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Exercise Crocodile

Exercise Crocodile is a major Australian-led joint bilateral exercise promoting interoperability between the two nations. Exercise Crocodile replaced the Kangaroo series of exercises. A joint exercise involves forces from more than one service while a combined exercise involves forces from more than one country. Crocodile combines these two by bringing together U.S. and Australian air, ground and naval forces under a set scenario.

Crocodile '99 (CROC-99) was the first in a series of Joint Chiefs of Staff-directed joint-combined exercises involving the Australian Defense Force and the U.S. military. More than 28,000 Australian troops were in the Northern Territory for Australia's biggest military exercise of the year. Other countries such as New Zealand and Indonesia did not participate in, or have observers at Crocodile 99.

The main part of the exercise took place from September 13 to October 22 along the eastern coast of Australia. The RAAF base "Scherger" on Cape York, which is normally a bare base, was activated. Further south around the Shoalwater Bay training area live firing and bombing took place in environmentally sensitive areas, near the last habitat of Dugongs in the southern reef area.

A 4000-plus-strong contingent of US troops passed through Brisbane Airport over four weeks en route to exercise Crocodile '99 at Shoalwater Bay. The US soldiers arrived on charter flights from Japan, Korea, Hawaii and mainland USA. The 11 charter flights involved MD11 and Lockheed Tristar aircraft from American Trans Air and World Airways. After receiving a meal in a specially-erected tent at Brisbane Airport, the troops traveled by bus to Rockhampton and Gladstone. Transportation to and in the Shoalwater Bay Training Areas was restricted to four wheel drive vehicles. They left Australia via Brisbane Airport from late October to mid November.

About 3,000 United States Marines were in Central Queensland for two months as part of the joint military exercise, Crocodile 99. They saw plenty of action at Australia's Shoal Water Bay training facility. Between September and November 1999 a contingent of several thousand US Navy, Marines and Air Force personnel together with members of the Australian Defence Force participated in a training exercise, around Shoalwater Bay in Queensland.

The bulk of the 31st MEU(SOC)'s 2,100 Marines and Sailors participated in Exercise Crocodile 99 in Australia. The focus of this deployment is the 31st MEU?s four CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters. The helicopters provided heavy lift support for logistics forces already in place.

USS Fort McHenry (LSD-43), USS Mount Vernon (LSD-39), USS O'Brien (DD-975), USS Frederick (LST-1184) and HMAS Hobart deployed and supported the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, based out of Okinawa, Japan and members from an Australian task force during the amphibious portion of the exercise.

After successfully completing this initial phase of the deployment, USS Frederick continued on to the Coral Sea to participate in exercise Crocodile '99, a major Australian-led joint bilateral exercise promoting interoperability between the two nations. During this exercise Frederick, along with the San Diego-based amphibious ship USS Mount Vernon (LSD 39) and Sasebo, Japan-based USS Fort McHenry (LSD 43) conducted an amphibious landing at freshwater beach in the Shoal Water Bay training area off of Queensland, Australia. Once ashore, U.S. troops from Alpha and Bravo Company 1st Battalion, 5th Marines and a limited number of Australian forces interacted in various training exercises including several firing exercises with live ammunition and company level tactical maneuvers. Exercise Crocodile '99 came to an end when the last wave of approximately 160 Marines and Sailors redeployed from Australia with the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 3 to Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay.

Kadena Air Base, Japan, units participating in the exercise included the 12th Fighter Squadron, 909th Air Refueling Squadron, 961st Airborne Air Control Squadron, 353rd Special Operations Group and various 18th Wing support agencies. The 909th's tankers began escorting the 12th Fighter Squadron's F-15s to Australia Oct. 2. One tanker left Oct. 8 to provide refueling support to an E-3 Sentry Airborne Warning and Control System aircraft. Both aircraft remained in Australia for the remainder of the exercise. The first week consisted of five eight-hour sorties and three eight-hour sorties the second week. All E-3 exercise sorties covered large-force employment activity, air refueling, and large strike force employment. Crocodile '99 offered the opportunity for weapons directors and pilots to have face-to-face briefings and debriefings enhancing the employment of combat forces in war. Another main objective is to exercise the command and control with the RAAF forces.

The Newcastle, Australia, phase of the exercise began Oct. 6 with the first sortie by 12th Fighter Squadron F-15 pilots firing live 20mm rounds at a target banner towed behind an Australian jet. Crocodile '99 gave a chance to employ guns against the Australian banner tow, something the unit hadn't done for three years. In employing their guns, the F-15s shot live rounds at a banner towed 500 to 1,500 feet behind the Australian version of a C-21. Hitting the banner proved the F-15's guns are properly calibrated.

The US Air Force and the Royal Australian Air Force had been practicing multinational planning in Exercise Crocodile 99, which was almost immediately put to use in Darwin in order to support the Australian-led multinational INTERFET mission in East Timor. Military Traffic Management Command's (MTMC's) 599th Transportation Group had a deployment support team (DST) in Australia, where it had finished offloading ships for Exercise Crocodile '99.

Crocodile 03

Exercise Crocodile 03 is scheduled for September 20-26 2003. Exercise Crocodile 03 represents the culmination of the ADF's four-year exercise cycle and will be held around the Shoalwater Bay Training Area (SWBTA) in central Queensland.

Exercise Crocodile 03 is the RAN's major exercise for 2003. Participants will serve aboard a major fleet unit (MFU) and experience the high capability end of maritime warfare. There will be opportunities to work with RAN personnel aboard ship and to meet with Allied participants during the period.

Crocodile 03 is scheduled to occur at the same time that a multinational exercise is to take place in roughly the same area in the Coral Sea. The piggybacked operation is to train units in maritime interdiction of illegal narcotics and weapons of mass destruction materials and missile components. Defense Department officials said that while the exercises would take place at roughly the same times, they may not use the same units. The training exercises are intended to enhance the collective capabilities of participants to conduct actual sea, air and ground interdiction operations in cooperation and partnership. It will involve both civilian law enforcement and military assets and all the core countries of the initiative are expected to participated in some way.

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Page last modified: 05-07-2011 02:22:36 Zulu