5RAR Admin Company
24 July 2015
As 5RAR troops battled 'enemy forces' alongside US Marines during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2015 (TS15) the Australian rear echelon logistic support was provided by their Administrative Coy.
The rear echelon, located at a major Bradshaw Field Training Area (BFTA) landing zone, included maintenance and recovery teams who were constantly working during the fast-paced exercise.
A signals detachment provided the logistical and command net links and a troop of Bushmasters from 1CSSB provided the uplift capability.
The landing zone was also the main base for the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin and their assets during TS15 and the relentless movement of personnel, vehicles and aircraft gave everything in the area a thick coating of fine dust.
Lt Douglas Hynes of 5RAR said the rear echelon was similar to a small forward operating base which was used by the Charlie Coy soldiers to rest, restock and rejuvenate between their missions.
"We were mainly self-sufficient but did have opportunities to operate with the marines and their supply system and they also assisted us with the movement of troops from Robertson Barracks to BFTA because it is an eight-hour drive and they were doing more sustainment runs," Lt Hynes said.
"One of the main challenges was getting used to the US marine's phrases and procedures, but after a few days we understood each other well and were able to integrate easily into their planning and missions.
Lt Hynes said apart from spending time on the ranges with the US logistics units learning how to fire each other's weapons, the vehicle mechanics from both forces integrated in the workshop areas to maintain each other's vehicles.
"It was a good learning experience to see the small differences in our capabilities and I think the Australian equipment is on par with the US," Lt Hynes said.
"I love working with the marines, as they are very helpful, and it has been a big learning curve working with their military system."
LCpl Niall Woolley, of 5RAR, was part of the forward repair team with Cfn Sean McManus and said most of the maintenance tasks during the month of field training were routine.
"We changed the gas-lugs and repaired bipods on weapons and there were some minor Bushmaster repairs," LCpl Woolley said.
"One of our challenges was getting repair parts quickly through the supply lines because we were so far from Darwin.
"It was exciting to watch the US marine's high mobility rocket artillery system in action by day and night as well as see the Ospreys, Cobras and Super Stallions in the air and had a look at the TOW missile system set-up on the Humvees.
"The marines are just like the Australian soldiers; they just want to get the job done, get away from the dust and eat some good food."