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85th Civil Affairs Brigade trains ‘down under’ in Talisman Saber

Email   Print   Share By Maj. Tia Winston, 85th CA Bde. Public Affairs
August 8, 2013 | News
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Members of the Civil Military Operations group, including members of Fort Hood’s 85th CA Bde., pose for a photo aboard the USS Blue Ridge during Talisman Saber Exercise 2013. Courtesy photo
Fort Hood’s senior civil affairs officer, 85th CA Brigade Commander Col. David P. Mauser, and a team of civil affairs troops were called upon to help form a combined task force to restore peace and security to the nation of “Kamaria” and its region.

This is all fictional, of course, but it’s exactly what a civil affairs Soldier does in times of conflict. In reality, they are participating in “Talisman Saber,” a joint training exercise in Australia. The bilateral Australian/U.S. exercise is aimed at improving combat readiness and the ability of U.S. and Australian forces to operate together. The scenario involves extremely powerful U.S. and Australian navy fleets exercising their joint capabilities.

85th CA Soldiers, along with members of the Australian Defence Force, lent their expertise to the 21-day exercise that culminated Monday along with 28,000 other U.S. and Australian personnel. The two nations teamed up in the Coral Sea and in military training areas in central and northern Queensland.

“This exercise is a major undertaking,” said Lt. Gen. Robert Brown, I Corps commanding general, “that reflects the closeness of our alliance with Australia and the strength of the ongoing military-to-military relationship.”

The Australian Defence website describes the exercise as a U.S.-led, Australian-supported exercise conducted primarily in Australia to improve combat training, readiness and interoperability, across a wide spectrum of military activities.

The exercise forms part of the Australian Defence Forces’ extensive training program to ensure the ADF is prepared to protect and support Australia and its national interests. The exercise also contributes to the ability of Australian and U.S. military forces to work together efficiently and safely. By working with the U.S. military forces, the exercise strengthens proactive and responsive strategies and enhances measures to defend Australia and its national interests.

Mauser took over command of the 85th CA Bde. in June. The unit is one of only two active-duty civil affairs brigades in the Army, activating Sept. 16, 2011. Civil affairs Soldiers of the 85th, also known as “Warrior Diplomats,” are a critical resource to the commander as they work with civil authorities and civilian populations to lessen the impact of military operations on them during full spectrum operations. This includes assessing the needs of the civilian populace, handling civilians on the battlefield, refugee operations, keeping the commander informed of protected targets such as schools, churches and hospitals, while interfacing with local and international non-governmental organizations and private volunteer organizations.
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