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Army July 19, 2012
Cpl Nick Wiseman
FOUR new Australian positions
have been established with the US
Marine Corps to support the devel-
opment of the Army's amphibious
Coinciding with the recent arrival of
Fox Company 2/3rd Marine Regiment
in Darwin, Capt's Luke Condon
and Ben Watson have been embed-
ded within the 13th and 15th Marine
Expeditionary Units and Maj Matthew
Cross is embedded with the Special
Operations Training Group.
Lt-Col Paul Smith, who is posted to
HQ Marine Forces Pacific on the island
of Oahu in Hawaii, said the officers
posted to Marine Expeditionary Units
would become great assets to the Army.
"These officers will come back to
Australia having experienced amphib-
ious operations and ready to impart
their knowledge," he said.
"This knowledge will be fed back
into our own amphibious force."
The two officers posted with the
Marine Expeditionary Units are part of
a two-year posting serving alongside
Marines and undergoing the full range
of training before deploying with the
units in their coming operational afloat
Maj Cross works with the Tactical
Exercise Control Group in the Special
Operations Training Group -- Pacific,
whose task is comparable to our
Combat Training Centre used to train
and certify units before deployment.
Capt Condon, who is posted to the
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit as
the logistics plans officer, said work-
ing with not only the Marines but also
other international militaries conduct-
ing amphibious exercises was a great
"Although only six months into the
two-year exchange posting, I've been
involved in the planning and conduct of
two USMC joint international engage-
ment exercises," he said.
He worked with the Japanese Self
Defence Force as part of Exercise
Ironfist 12 and the Indian Army as part
of Exercise Shatrujeet 12.
Capt Condon will continue to pro-
vide logistics planning support to the
13th Marine Expeditionary Unit for the
duration of his posting, experiencing
further international exercises and a
deployment in mid-2013 to experience
the amphibious capability firsthand.
Lt-Col Smith, in his role at HQ
Marine Forces Pacific, supports the col-
laboration between Army and USMC
He said the position of an extra liai-
son officer located in the Pacific was
required to support the increased train-
ing and exercising the two countries
would be doing together.
"Right now my position is being
used to support an increased flow of
information between the two organisa-
tions as the Marines look to develop
their Australian rotational force con-
cept," he said.
"I've been made to feel very wel-
The Marines hold the Australian
Army in very high regard and see our
service holding the same ethos and pro-
fessional culture as their own."
The four positions were established
at the start of the year as the Army's
Amphibious Ready Group is expected
to launch by 2017.
Getting their feet wet
US Marine Corps exchanges under way to help develop Australian amphibious capability
File photo by
Cpl Chris Moore
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