News: Exercise Gold Eagle smooth ride for Aussie, Marine tanks
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
MOUNT BUNDEY TRAINING AREA, Northern Territory, Australia – The tropical terrain of the Top End created quite a few obstacles for Marines with Alpha Company, 1st Tank Battalion, 1st Marine Division, to overcome during a live-fire exercise as part of the second half of Exercise Gold Eagle here, Sept. 14.
Though the environment bared no resemblance to the desert terrain the Marines are used to facing, it allowed them to refine their tank skills with the help of the Australian soldiers from 1st Armoured Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps, who are accustomed to such conditions.
Practicing maneuvers in a new environment is just one of the reasons why the two militaries are participating in the exercise.
“Exercise Gold Eagle is a bilateral exchange. The Australians came over in June to conduct the US-leg, and now we’re on the backend with the reciprocal piece here in Australia,” said Capt. Nathan Gulosh, commanding officer, Alpha Co., 1st Tank Bn. “It’s an opportunity for our armored communities to share each other’s practices and just operate in a different environment.”
The course-of-fire began with the tanks destroying “enemy” dismounts and reconnaissance vehicles. After successfully removing that enemy threat, the tanks moved to a more open area where they eliminated combat security outpost positions. The tanks then traveled to an elevated piece of land where they denied enemy influence.
The combination of heavy foliage and deep ditches from dried creeks proved challenging for the Marines.
“This is a great chance for us to see and mentally take ourselves out of the conditions of an Operation Enduring Freedom fight,” said Gulosh. “We’re used to being able to see three to four clicks out. Here, because of the terrain, we can only see about 50 meters in front of us. We needed to change the way we thought about engaging a target. It’s good to get out here and see how these guys tank.”
Throughout the exercise both units have learned a great deal when in comes to maneuvering and eliminating enemy threats in unfamiliar conditions.
“There’s a lot of knowledge we can get from each other,” said Australian Army Maj. Tim Tiller, officer commanding, B Squadron, 1st Armoured Regiment, Royal Australian Armoured Corps. “I think it really shows the value of this bilateral military exchange program.”