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Exercise Talisman Sabre formally launched on USS Ronald Reagan

written by WOFA | July 8, 2019

Scenes from the formal launch of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 on USS Ronald Reagan. (Lance Broad)
Scenes from the formal launch of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 on USS Ronald Reagan. (Lance Broad)

Australia and the United States have formally kicked off the biennial joint-military exercise Talisman Sabre.

While the bulk of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019’s activities will occur at the Australian Defence Force’s Shoalwater Bay training area north of Rockhampton on Queensland’s central coast, the opening ceremony was held on board the USS Ronald Reagan in the Port of Brisbane on Sunday.

Australia’s Minister for Defence Senator Linda Reynolds said Exercise Talisman Sabre would involve more than 34,000 military men and women from both countries and aimed to enhance combat readiness and interoperability between the Australian and United States Armed Forces.

“This premier military engagement reflects the strength of the Australia-US alliance and the closeness of our military to military relationship,” Senator Reynolds said in a statement.

“Talisman Sabre would not be possible without the generous cooperation of the local community including landowners, governments and traditional owners.”

There will also be 18 nations participating in various aspects for the exercise, either embedded alongside Australian Defence Force personnel, observing the exercise, or as part of the international visitors program.


Held every two years, Exercise Talisman Sabre was focused on the “planning and conduct of mid-intensity ‘high end’ warfighting”, according to the Australian Defence Force website. This will the the eighth edition of the exercise.

In addition to activities at Shoalwater Bay, exercises were also planned for the Bundaberg, Mackay, Townsville, and Whitsundays, as well as the Australian Defence Force’s Evans Head Air Weapons Range.

The USS Ronald Reagan aircraft carrier arrived in Brisbane on July 5 alongside the Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville.

Meanwhile, the Arleigh Burke Class guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell reached Townsville on July 4.

“USS Ronald Reagan Sailors are excited to engage in Talisman Sabre 2019 with their Australian counterparts,” USS Ronald Reagan commanding officer Captain Pat Hannifin said in a statement posted on the United States’s Pacific Fleet Commander’s website.

“Having served alongside Aussies in every conflict for 100 years, we are truly honoured to visit your beautiful country again. We look forward to the sights of Brisbane and the hospitality that Australians are known for.”

Rear Admiral Karl Thomas, commander Task Force 70, added: “As a forward-deployed force, the Ronald Reagan Strike Group enjoys the latitude and freedom to operate where it matters, when it matters, while training side-by-side with our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific region. Visiting the beautiful city of Brisbane and taking part in Talisman Sabre 19 is a phenomenal way to fortify our alliance with Australia and demonstrate to other nations in this critical region our steadfast commitment to sustaining a stable security environment.”

Scenes from the formal launch of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 on USS Ronald Reagan. (Lance Broad)
Scenes from the formal launch of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 on USS Ronald Reagan. (Lance Broad)


  • Tony


    A few of those US Navy sailors appear to be very, very short!

    • G4George


      They also appear to be related, the 2 bearing rifles in the last photo left and right have to be sisters.

  • Bill


    Is it Saber or Sabre this year? It changes depending on who the lead nation is

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