Sunday, June 12, 2005

oh joy, we're having visitors

The local paper reports:
More than 6000 Australian & 11,000 U.S. personnel will participate in Talisman Sabre '05, a merger of the Tandem Thrust & Crocodile series of exercises. They will be involved in intensive training at Shoalwater Bay, Rockhampton, Townsville & the Coral Sea.

Talisman Sabre's primary aim is to conduct collective training & exercise inter-operability between Australian & U.S. forces.

The biennial exercise will further develop the Australian Armed Forces' capability to undertake joint, combined operations & will help build regional security & complement Australia's regional partners' activities with the U.S.

Based on fictional scenarios, the exercise includes combined Special Forces operations, parachute drops, amphibious landings at Shoalwater Bay, artillery & infantry manoeuvres, air combat training & advanced maritime operations.

The exercise is being conducted in accordance with approved environmental rules, guidelines & audits.
Past experience shows that the "environmental rules & guidelines" get paid as much attention to here as they do in Iraq. The first friendly fire incident came about when an army truck laden with two armoured personnel carriers almost wiped me out when it turned across my path instead of giving way. The first hostile action occurred when two U.S. sailors were arrested in Townsville in the process of smuggling 11 kg of amphetamines ashore.

Ah, but these are minor things, considering it is estimated that around $5 million will be spent in the Rockhampton community as a result of the exercise. Though this is somewhat tempered by the fact that it tends to cost the local community about $1 million to fix up the damage caused by heavy traffic on minor roads & artillery fire in the undergrowth.

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