TIMOR SEA (July 9, 2015) Two F/A-18F Super Hornets assigned to the Diamondbacks of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 102 complete a refueling from a Royal Australian Air Force KC-30A during Talisman Sabre 2015. Talisman Sabre is a biennial exercise that provides an invaluable opportunity for nearly 30,000 U.S. and Australian defense forces to conduct operations in a combined, joint and interagency environment that will increase both countries’ ability to plan and execute a full range of operations from combat missions to humanitarian assistance efforts. (U.S. Navy photo by Lt. David Robinson/Released)
The sailors and Marines of the George Washington carrier strike group and the Bonhomme Richard expeditionary strike group bid "hooroo" to the Australian Defence Force on Saturday after wrapping up Exercise Talisman Sabre.
About 33,000 troops, 200 aircraft and 21 ships participated in the two-week biennial exercise.
"During TS15 we demonstrated our Pacific partnership with the Australians and Kiwis," Cmdr. Michael Posey, the lead planner for the exercise, said in a Navy release. "The first level of TS15 validated our long-standing relationship with the Australians and it was a reminder that our two nations have fought together in every major conflict since World War II."
It was the sixth iteration of the exercise and, significantly, members of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force participated as embedded units with the United States, a further sign of Japan's growing involvement in regional security.
New Zealand defense forces also participated as embedded forces with the Australian military, the release said.
Bonhomme Richard ESGgroup conducted more than 20 amphibious landings with landing craft air cushion and landing craft utility units, and MV-22 flights.
George Washington CSGgroup also conducted war games, and also practiced in-flight refueling. Five U.S. Navy F/A-18 Super Hornets took fuel from a Royal Australian air force KC-30A, according to a release.
The next Talisman Sabre is scheduled for Summer 2017.
The Bonhomme Richard and George Washington sailors also got to enjoy some a little liberty in Australia.
The sailors of the GW CSGGeorge Washington group visited had a great time in Brisbane while the Bonhomme Richard took in the sights at Fremantle and Bunbury.
This is also the last major exercise for George Washington as the forward-deployed carrier in Japan. The super carrier is headed to Norfolk after seven years in Japan. It is on its way to San Diego where it will swap crews with the carrier Reagan, which will on its way to take over as the forward-deployed carrier in 7th Fleet.
About David B. Larter
David B. Larter was the naval warfare reporter for Defense News.