5RAR Combat Troops
24 July 2015
Soldiers of Charlie Coy 5RAR formed an integrated rifle company with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) during Exercise Talisman Sabre (TS15).
The Australian troops continued their bilateral manoeuvres with the 1st Bn, 4th Marines Regt at the Bradshaw Field Training Area following Exercise Koolendong and concluded TS15 with an airmobile assault and defensive operations.
The V-22 Osprey lift capability allowed the battlegroup to rapidly deploy onto its final objective after a month of training in the field.
LCpl Christopher Knight, of 5RAR, said TS15 was a fantastic opportunity for the Darwin-based personnel to gain exposure to the marine's complete capability.
"During TS15 two US marine platoons were attached to our company and one Australian platoon was attached to the MRF-D," LCpl Knight said.
"Our procedures for orders fit easily with the marine's process and showed how well we connected and communicated with each other.
LCpl Knight said the Charlie Coy sections worked seamlessly into their planning, rehearsals and operational procedures during Exercise Koolendong and the marines conducted the same operations under the Australian command with ease during TS15.
"There are slight differences in their minor team tactics and who employs what weapon system in what manner, but we can learn a lot from the USMC," LCpl Knight said.
"There are tasks the marines do which exceed our ability and capability, because they have equipment we don't have, and although we have gained a lot of experience in the last decade they have more general operational experience.
"They are an extremely professional organisation and it was a great privilege to work alongside them.
LCpl Knight said one of the challenges of working with the US troop was to get in first to swap Australian ration packs for the US Meals Ready to Eat (MREs).
"But the marines are jealous of our Bushmasters, specifically because of its improvised explosive device protection capability, and they love the air-conditioning," he said.
"They have some brilliant weapons such as their version of the 84mm rocket launcher (Mk. 153 83mm Shoulder-launched Multi-purpose Assault Weapon) seems very versatile and easy to move around.
"The marine's M-32 six-shot 40mm grenade launcher also looks very user-friendly and would be an impressive addition to our suite of weapons."
"I would love the opportunity to be in a group of Australian soldiers attached to a Marine Expeditionary Unit for a tour in a deployed sea role as I think it would be a fantastic experience."
Sgt Ben Trewartha, a Charlie Coy platoon sergeant, said the activities during TS15 were varied and included live-fire and company-centric training with the marines.
"The boys loved it," Sgt Trewartha said.
"They were uplifted in the V-22 Osprey and CH-53 Super Stallions and dropped on objectives with 81mm and 60mm mortars firing alongside the 155mm M-777s.
"Culturally soldiers and marines around the world are much the same, peas in a pod."
“There are some tiny differences in terminology, like when we ask the marines to block-up and they shake-out into a block.
Sgt Trewartha said there were a lot of ways to do warfighting and TS15 gave Australian soldiers an opportunity to learn from troops who knew how to do it while demonstrating and sharing the skills they possessed.
"There are activities we couldn’t do if the marines were not here with their assets, such as a regimental air assault or the air mobile operations for the 8/12 Regt, RAA," he said.</p
"MRF-D is a fantastic capability and having the marines working alongside 1 Bde is a good way to demonstrate Australia's partnership with the US."