US amphibious assault group ships descend on Australia ahead of major exercise

US Navy ships from the Wasp amphibious ready group arrived for port visits in the Australian cities of Brisbane and Sydney on June 18.

San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Green Bay (LPD 20) and Whidbey Island-class amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland (LSD 48) will be in Brisbane, while amphibious assault ship USS Wasp (LHD 1), the flagship of the group, will be in Sydney.

The Japan-based ships are in Australia ahead of the start of exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.

TS19 is a bilateral combined Australian and US training activity designed to improve the combat readiness and interoperability between Australian and US forces.

The exercise will run from late June to early August 2019, including the initial surge of equipment and people and their subsequent departure after the exercise. Exercise activities in Shoalwater Bay Training Area and region will commence from early July and peak during July 11-24.

“It’s great to be back in Brisbane. The crew is ecstatic to have this opportunity to come back to Australia again after having visited Cairns this past November and Brisbane in June of 2017,” said Capt. Thomas E. Shultz, commanding officer of Green Bay.

“Fortunately, our schedule has afforded the crew an opportunity to spend a few days in Brisbane. The crew is excited to participate in the many opportunities to explore Australia,” said Cmdr. Patrick German, commanding officer of Ashland.

Photo: USS Wasp (LHD 1) arrives in Sydney for a port visit on June 18, 2019. Photo: US Navy