Home' Army News : August 1st 2013 Contents Permanent,
Course and Transit
Army August 1, 2013
MORE than 28,000 soldiers, sailors,
airmen and women have taken to the
sea, land and sky in northern Australia
as part of Exercise Talisman Saber
The biennial training activity is jointly
sponsored by Joint Operations Command
and the US Pacific Command to train the
US 7th Fleet and Australian Deployable
Joint HQ as a designated combined task
Australian exercise spokesman Brig
Bob Brown said the training activity
involved US and Australian forces mobi-
lising to react to a fictional regional crisis.
“The scenario is a peace enforcement
mission that sets the conditions for the
task force to hand over to a UN peace-
keeping force,” Brig Brown said.
“The forces are operating in military
training areas in central and south-east
Queensland, the Northern Territory
and the Coral, Timor and Arafura seas.
Shoalwater Bay Training Area will be
used predominantly, with a large staging
area at Defence Base Rockhampton.
“This year Talisman Saber sees further
practice and progression of Defence’s
emerging amphibious capability. The
exercise will be the third block of training
for 2RAR’s Amphibious Ready Element
Thousands converge for Talisman Saber 13
“Talisman Saber is a unique and inval-
uable opportunity to exercise combined
and joint Defence capability between
Australia and the US.
“As with the previous Talisman Saber
exercises, this activity is a major under-
taking reflecting the Australian and US
alliance and the strength of the military-
About 21,000 US and 7000 Australian
military personnel are involved in the
exercise, along with other Australian
Government agencies including the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
AusAID, Australian Federal Police and
Australian Civil-Military Centre.
Talisman Saber 2013 started on July 15
and was due to finish on August 6.
Health battalion brings
latest medical facilities
Cpl Max Bree
IT looks like the inside of a space-
ship, but 2GHB’s giant field hos-
pital has brought the latest medi-
cal technology to the Shoalwater
Bay Training Area during Exercise
Talisman Saber 2013.
The 5600sqm hospital boasts
two operating theatres, an x-ray
department, trauma wards and four
intensive care beds.
1 Surgical Coy OC Maj Paul
Mitchell said the hospital also
boasted a swag of highly skilled
“The majority of our special-
ists are reservists,” he said. “But we
have more specialists here than at
Rockhampton base hospital.”
Working in one operating theatre
is Maj Christian Kenfield, a surgeon
from Melbourne specialising in liver
and trauma cases.
“There is no difference in the
equipment you see here apart from
the shell,” he said. “We have a soft
shell; a permanent hospital in one of
the capital cities would have a hard
“We can treat the same life threat-
ening conditions that can be treated
in centres like Rockhampton.”
And Maj Kenfield is totally pre-
pared to back the team.
“There are enough facilities here
that if there were a real disaster we
would send the patients here rather
than send them to Rockhampton,”
“It can operate with enough staff
to be running both operating theatres
simultaneously and having a surgeon
assisting in resuscitation.”
When inspectors placed Agar
plates in the operating theatres to
check for bacteria, one had noth-
ing on it and the other grew just one
Those results are unheard of in
the civilian medical world, according
to Maj Mitchell.
THE “coolest” place to hang out in
2GHB’s massive field hospital is
the pharmacy store room.
Lt Nicole Such is one of three
pharmacists staffing the battalion
pharmacy that is constantly main-
tained at below 25 degrees.
“We’re involved with re-supply
and logistics, but we also go on
rounds and give medication to
patients,” she said.
“I just like the interaction with
all the departments; they’re very
The battalion pharmacy stocks
380 lines of medical consumables
along with 330 lines of pharma-
ceuticals. Lt Such said they recent-
ly found a Sydney-based supplier
that would deliver to Shoalwater
“They have said that within
five days we should be able to get
resupply out here,” she said. “A lot
of stores have to be stored below
25 degrees and have to come in
Apart from not having to deal
with geriatric or paediatric patients
like she would in the civilian world,
Lt Such also gets a taste of life in
“I like doing real Army stuff,”
Apart from the intensive care
beds, the hospital has 45 ward beds
along with about 220 medical and
“To deploy, we’d probably need a
couple of aircraft or a ship to trans-
port us,” Maj Mitchell said. “But we
can scale up or down to meet the
Once the battalion arrived in loca-
tion, Maj Mitchell said it wasn’t long
before they could have serious cases
through the door.
“When we start building; within
48 hours we can receive the first case
that requires resuscitation,” he said.
The hospital underwent certifica-
tion by an independent team during
its time in the field.
“We’ve had some trial cases
over the last four to five days,” Maj
Kenfield said. “From minor cases to
life threatening cases.
“We know ourselves that this
facility is very good but by having an
external team certify us to Australian
standards just proves that this is a
very good hospital.”
she said. “It’s a good opportunity to
experience what the Army’s about.
“If the power goes down, what
do you do? You have to think and
use your resources and contacts
to keep everything active.”
IN THE PHARMACY
Stitched up: Surgeons at the role 2E hospital in the Shoalwater Bay Training Area conduct a practice
casualty scenario during the early stages of Ex Talisman Saber 13.
Photos by Cpl Max Bree
Geared up: Lt Mathew Sebesfi, of
2/14LHR, fits Rockhampton local,
Frazer, with a helmet in an ASLAV at
the Ex Talisman Saber 13 open day.
Photo by Cpl Bill Solomou
Supplies: Pharmacists Lts
Marium Hamimi and Nicole
Such check stores in the
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