USS Green Bay (LPD 20) returned to her forward-deployed base in Sasebo, Japan, Sept. 7, culminating three-plus months of operations in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.
Green Bay, part of the Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Strike Group, and embarked Marines with the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) participated in Talisman Saber 17 off of the coast of Australia, made community-enriching port visits to Cairns and Brisbane, and completed U.S. Navy-Marine Corps integrated training while deployed.
“I am so incredibly impressed and pleased with the performance of our Blue-Green Team over the course of this deployment,” said Capt. Nate Moyer, commanding officer of Green Bay. “Our Sailors and Marines serving in 7th Fleet are resilient. We proved that resiliency day-for-day throughout the past three months while strengthening both our presence and our ability to operate with our Australian counterparts.”
Green Bay departed Sasebo on June 2 and shortly following embarked the 31st MEU in Okinawa, Japan. After onloading all of the 31st MEU’s equipment, vehicles and personnel, Green Bay sailed for nearly two weeks to arrive off the coast of Australia for Talisman Saber.
Green Bay and the embarked 31st MEU made a port call to Cairns just before commencing the exercise, conducting a community outreach and interacting with the local population. Several Sailors visited a children’s hospital to interact and support the patients of Cairns, Australia.
“Relationships are built through the wonderful opportunities provided when we make port visits on deployment,” said Lt. Tiffany Eddy, Green Bay’s chaplain. “We love to serve and serve alongside the local community of our host nation where camaraderie and friendships are built. It gives a strong message that respect and unity are key to any partnership, especially between two nations who care for the other by leading by example.”
Talisman Saber is a biennial combined Australian and United States training exercise, designed to train Australian and U.S. military forces in planning and conducting operations to improve combat readiness and interoperability.
During Talisman Saber, Green Bay launched the Marines ashore for a combined U.S.-Australia amphibious assault. Marines were transported via Landing Craft Utility and combat rubber raid craft (CRRC) to shore. UH-1Y Huey helicopters and AH-1Z Viper helicopters, assigned to Medium Tiltrotor Squadron (VMM) 265 (Reinforced), launched from Green Bay to provide combat air support to the landing force. Green Bay also embarked a company of Australia Army personnel from the 3rd Brigade to launch in CRRCs alongside their U.S. Marine counterparts.
Launching of landing craft was continuous throughout the exercise but Green Bay personnel stepped up each time to support their Marine Corps teammates.
“Talisman Saber 17 was a fast paced training exercise down in the well deck,” said Boatswain’s Mate 1st Class Jezreil Pineda, from Minneapolis, Minn. “But as allies to Australia, I think it builds that bond and confidence with each other that is needed for partners. It also builds teamwork and showcases our strengths and capabilities.”
Following the successful completion of Talisman Saber 17, Green Bay visited Brisbane before conducting amphibious integration training (AIT) and certification exercises (CERTEX) with the 31st MEU.
AIT and CERTEX allowed the MEU and the ESG to flex the wide breadth of MEU mission sets from disaster relief to crisis response.
After successfully completing AIT and CERTEX, Green Bay returned to Okinawa, Sept.1, to offload the 31st MEU.
Green Bay will now undergo a planned ship’s restricted availability period in Sasebo to accomplish a number of maintenance projects and equipment repairs.
The Bonhomme Richard ESG has been comprised of Green Bay, the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) and the amphibious landing dock USS Ashland (LSD 48). Bonhomme Richard and Ashland remain deployed in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region.