Coast Guard Cutter Stratton participates in Talisman Sabre 2019

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton proceeds to their assigned location in formation with other military vessels participating in Talisman Sabre 2019 in the Coral Sea July 11, 2019. Talisman Sabre is a biennial exercise designed to improve U.S. and Australian combat training, readiness and interoperability. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jasmine Mieszala)

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Stratton proceeds to their assigned location in formation with other military vessels participating in Talisman Sabre 2019 in the Coral Sea July 11, 2019.  (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Jasmine Mieszala)

U.S. Coast Guard story and photos by:
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jasmine Mieszala

The U.S. Coast Guard participated in Talisman Sabre 2019 in July, a bilateral exercise held every two years between the U.S. and Australia, and this year’s exercise marked the first for the Coast Guard since the exercises first began in 2005. TS 19 was designed to train U.S. and Australian forces across high-end, mid-intensity warfighting scenarios and to improve combat training, readiness and interoperability. This exercise illustrated the U.S., Australian alliance and the strength of military-to-military relationships in the eighth iteration of the exercise.

“We supported 7th Fleet amphibious operations,” said Lt. Cmdr. Andrew Dunlevy, the operations officer aboard Coast Guard Cutter Stratton. “We were part of an amphibious readiness group that conducted a combined exercise to move Marines and associated equipment ashore in a simulated hostile environment.”

One of the Coast Guard’s primary roles in TS 19 was to serve as a forward screening vessel. As the force moved north, Stratton was sent as an advanced unit to help identify possible landing areas for amphibious operations and to ensure the water north of the force was clear of threats before the force moved in behind Stratton. The crew of Stratton used air and surface assets to conduct searches as part of the forward screen.

“We’re learning about what it means to be a part of this exercise – where we’re falling short, where we have capabilities to add and where we don’t,” said Dunlevy.

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton participates in Talisman Sabre 2019

Anthony Hensen, a ScanEagle operator, prepares to launch ScanEagle from Coast Guard Cutter Stratton’s flight deck in the West Pacific Ocean. ScanEagle is a small unmanned aircraft system capable of flying for more than 16 hours and has a maximum speed of 60 knots.

Stratton is currently the only Coast Guard cutter that has small unmanned aircraft system (sUAS) capabilities permanently attached the ship. The sUAS is capable of flying more than 16 hours, has a maximum speed of 60 knots and can provide real-time data to the ship to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.

This capability allows the Coast Guard to provide real-time surveillance to battle staff and exercise planners, and it allows them to explore the skills and expertise the Coast Guard can bring to both exercises and real-world scenarios.

The Stratton is the Coast Guard’s third national security cutter (NSC) and is homeported in Alameda, California. National security cutters are the Coast Guard’s key interoperability platform in the afloat arena. NSCs are capable of executing challenging operations, including supporting maritime homeland security and defense missions, as well as operating in open ocean environments and supporting international partner agencies.

TS 19 included field training exercises, force preparation, logistic activities, amphibious landings, land force maneuvers, urban operations, air operations, maritime operations and special forces activities. The exercise provided an opportunity to conduct operations in a combined joint and interagency environment that increased both countries’ ability to plan and execute contingency responses, from combat missions to humanitarian assistance efforts.

Coast Guard Cutter Stratton participates in Talisman Sabre 2019

Lt. Wes Figaro, a pilot attached to Coast Guard Cutter Stratton, guides a Navy helicopter as it lands on the flight deck of Stratton in the Coral Sea July 11, 2019. The yellow personal protective equipment Figaro is wearing indicates his position as a landing safety officer.

“Talisman Sabre was key to the U.S. and to the Coast Guard because we were able to exercise relationships with our international partners, to conduct training necessary and to help maintain regional security, peace and stability,” said Dunlevy.

Though this is the Coast Guard’s first time participating in Talisman Sabre, the experience and knowledge gained from participating in the exercise is proving to be instrumental.

“We will provide an after-action report detailing how we were employed and how we think we could better add to the exercise next time,” said Dunlevy. “We hope the Coast Guard is invited back for the next Talisman Sabre. This has been a huge win for the Coast Guard.”


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