HMAS Canberra docks in Port of Cairns

U.S. Army Pacific Public Affairs Office
Story by Senior Airman Ashley Maldonado-Suarez

Date: 07.12.2019
Posted: 07.12.2019 02:36
News ID: 331076

The flagship of the Royal Australian Navy, Her Majesty’s Australian Ship Canberra, docked at the Port of Cairns for the first time in history, July 4, in preparation for its participation in Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019. The vessel remained at Cairns, Queensland, until July 9.

“Exercise Talisman Sabre is Australia’s premier bilateral exercise with the United States, underpinning the Australian-New Zealand-U.S. alliance,” said Australian Capt. Terry Morrison, Royal Australian Navy commanding officer of HMAS Canberra.

HMAS Canberra is the lead ship of the Canberra-class landing helicopter dock in service with the Royal Australian Navy. It carries more than 1,000 joint military personnel from the RAN, Australian Army, Royal Australian Air Force, U.S. Marine Corps, Royal Marines and the Royal New Zealand Navy.

In addition to service members, two military working dogs are also embarked as part of the landing force, further adding to the diversity of the crew.

“It is extremely significant to have our mates from the United States, along with those from New Zealand and the United Kingdom, on board HMAS Canberra,” said Morrison. “To have our coalition mates integrated in a Royal Australian Navy landing helicopter dock provides a unique opportunity to further enhance our ability to fight alongside each other in the future.”

The stop in Cairns was essential for obtaining final provisions and one million liters of fuel before TS19 kicked off.

“Cairns [also] provided an excellent opportunity for quality respite for the sailors, soldiers and airmen currently embarked on HMAS Canberra,” said Morrison.

Morrison went on to say TS19 is a premier exercise to benchmark the ability to work with Australia’s closest allies. The opportunity to exercise with other ships, aircraft and personnel from many nations is extraordinary.

During the exercise, the HMAS Canberra is primarily focused on supporting pre-landing force and amphibious assault capabilities.

“The opportunity to Command any Royal Australian Navy ship, is a true privilege,” said Morrison. “A vessel this size, with so many people from Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand, is however a very rare opportunity, which I am honored to have been afforded.”