USS GEORGE WASHINGTON, At Sea -- Distinguished visitors from Australia visited the U.S. Navy's forward-deployed aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), July 23. The representatives visited the ship to receive a general orientation of an underway aircraft carrier and to better understand George Washington's strategic mission in the U.S. 7th Fleet Area of Operations. "This is my ninth deployment in Australia and I know we have a strong partnership," said Rear Adm. Mark Montgomery, commander, Battle Force 7th Fleet. "Whether it's at sea, Afghanistan or elsewhere, the U.S. and Australian military and cultural alliance is strong." Ambassador Jeffrey Bleich, U.S. ambassador to Australia, and Ian Stewart, commissioner of Queensland Police Service were among the 20 distinguished visitors who spent the day aboard George Washington. "Coming out here creates a greater sense of confidence between our two countries," said Bleich. "It's makes our U.S. and Australian relations more interoperable and effective.
U.S. Forces and Australia have been long-standing allies and are currently conducting exercise Talisman Saber (TS) 2013. This is the fifth time exercise TS has been conducted. Talisman Saber merges previous the previous exercises of Tandem Thrust and Crocodile into one joint, combined exercise designed to maintaining a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces. "This is my third time conducting exercise TS," said Montgomery. "I've always found that our ability to build high-end interoperability exercises shows our similarity in tactics, techniques and systems in surface warfare. This exercises gives us the confidence that we can fall back on each other rapidly should a decision be made be made to operate together in a combat zone." The tour gave distinguished visitors a rare opportunity to see TS 2013 in action, giving them greater confidence in the humanitarian and warfighting capabilities in both nations allied navies. "The tour gives you a sense that there are precision operations for every person," said Bleich, "You have Sailors on the flight deck giving hand signals to one another to land the planes safety. It's a magnificent theater for those who don't know about it and at the same time it serves a very serious purpose to keep us secure so that trade routes stay safe and navigable." The TS exercise is a biennial training event aimed at improving Australian Defence Force and U.S. combat readiness and interoperability as a Combined Joint Task Force.