Home' Air Force News : August 15th 2013 Contents 7
August 15, 2013
CPL Max Bree
US PARATROOPERS secured
Williamson Airfield at the start of
Exercise Talisman Saber 13 and
the US Air Force's (USAF) 36th
Contingency Response Group quick-
ly flew in.
USAF LTCOL Will Percival was
in charge of the initial push into the
airfield, which, for the exercise, was
said to be in a fictional country.
"Our mission was to take con-
trol of the airfield and turn it into a
mobility head," he said.
"This is the air-head that enables
operations for the northern part of this
fabricated country and the importance
of an airfield really can't be understat-
ed -- it's a power projection platform."
Soon after the US moved in,
382 Expeditionary Combat Support
Squadron, under the command of
WGCDR Andrew Lancaster, arrived
and took control of the airfield, slot-
ting in to work with the USAF per-
"The integration between the two
elements has been pretty seamless,
from the planning stage to the execu-
tion stage," LTCOL Percival said.
"The tactics, techniques and pro-
cedures we have currently on opera-
tions overseas are being played out
The Williamson base provided
air traffic control, health services,
airfield engineering and communica-
tion with about 100 Australian and
80 US personnel.
Security was mostly provided by
USAF airmen bolstered by working
and explosives detection dogs from 2
Security Forces Squadro
became Williamson base command-
er with LTCOL Percival as his depu-
ty under the banner of the Combined
Combat Support Element.
LTCOL Percival said it wasn't
just the command centre that was
"Engineering is under a US offic-
er, S1 and S2 are under Australian
officers," he said. "There is no stove-
piping. This is the first time we have
been totally integrated [here]; we
got US forces
have done this before."
And by LTCOL Percival's
account, the US forces were happy
to be there.
"Other than the fact that every
American comes here thinking that
everything will kill them as far as the
creepies and crawlies, the people are
wonderful, the country is beautiful
and everyone has been extraordinar-
"I've already been
told my Australian
[accent] is poor but
Power projection platform
DETECTION, identification and prediction of
specific threats to Williamson Airfield was the
focus of the combined RAAF/US Air Force
(USAF) intelligence effort during Exercise
Talisman Saber 13 (TS13).
At Williamson Airfield in the northern end
of the Shoalwater Bay Training Area, the RAAF
Security Force and USAF Force Protection ele-
ments worked together to deliver security to the
airfield, relying heavily on the integrated intel-
Two RAAF Intelligence Officers and one
Air Intelligence Analyst from 87SQN Combat
Support Tactical Intelligence Flight (CSTIF)
combined their skills with two USAF staff to
deliver ground intelligence to those force ele-
ments providing security at the airfield.
OIC Force Protection FLTLT Adam Rosen
said the benefits of the combined intelligence
section were comprehensively illustrated by their
"The products delivered by the intelligence
cell were consistently of the highest standard,"
FLTLT Rosen said.
"Formal products and briefings continually
allowed the Force Protection Element to conduct
effective and efficient manoeuvre across the
SQNLDR Trent Harris, 87SQN CSTIF
Commander, also deployed to Williamson
Airfield to observe the integration of ground
intelligence into the RAAF/USAF Combined
Combat Support Element.
"As an organisation we need to maintain an
effective, agile and professional ground intelli-
gence capability that remains air-minded and this
was certainly on show throughout the mission,"
SQNLDR Harris said.
"Ground intelligence is a key part of the mis-
sion intelligence task for the Air Force intelli-
gence (AFINT) capability in enabling air power;
a factor recognised by the AFINT Project tasked
with enhancing the capability over the next seven
"We need to leverage off all sources within
the battlespace, whether those are integrated
from the wider Air Force, Army or from other
nations, to produce intelligence for the tactical
commander and Security Force elements.
"There's no doubt this was achieved during
right, of 87SQN
gives a pre-mis-
sion brief to a
Photo: LAC Brett
SEAMLESS INTEGRATION: Left, the 36th Contingency Response Group defends the entrance to Williamson Airfield at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area after assuming
command and control from the US 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Airborne). Right, FLGOFF Matthew
Eaton, of 382 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron, maintains security at Williamson Airfield with US Security Forces SSGT Nick Davis.
Photos: US Airman 1st Class Marianique Santos and CPL Bill Solomou
Controlling land and sea
CPL Max Bree
INSTEAD of building airfields and
taxiways, an Air Force plant opera-
tor was among Army Bushmasters
and infantrymen landing at Sabina
Point on July 20 during Exercise
Talisman Saber 13.
LAC Andrew Blake, of 1 Airfield
Operations Support Squadron
Airfield Engineering in Townsville,
arrived on the first landing craft
with his bulldozer as part of a five-
man Army beach team.
"We controlled the watercrafts
that were coming in and out," he
"But if any vehicle has trouble
my role to help
he idea of doing
ame up, LAC
Blake said he
was keen for the
"My boss just asked and said
'who would like to do some beach
landings'," he said.
"It sounded fun so I put my
hand up for it."
LAC Blake spent the lead-up to
the landing floating around with
the Navy in HMAS Choules.
"Being stuck on a ship for a
week; it's not so fun," he said.
"So it's good to actually get
out."And the Army were helping
him settle into his new position.
"They're all pretty welcoming,"
he said. "But the job is a lot of
OVERWATCH: LAC Andrew Blake
stands watch for the 'enemy' as troops
and equipment continue to come ashore
from HMAS Choules onto Sabina Point,
Photo: CPL Jake Sims
Talisman Saber 13
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