ROYAL AIR FORCE BASE TOWNSVILLE, Australia --
Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 12 ordnance Marines have continued to build live ordnance in support of Talisman Sabre 2011 as the exercise moved into its ninth day of training here July 19.
Talisman Sabre is a biennial exercise designed to test and improve on the Australian and American forces’ ability to conduct joint and combined task force operations.
Australian and American units have been conducting training in support of the exercise throughout Queensland, the Northern Territory, and neighboring naval areas since July 11.
Talisman Sabre focuses on improving combat readiness and interoperability of participating units.
MALS-12 service members are slated to provide thousands of pounds of live ordnance during the course of the exercise.
Chief Warrant Officer 2 Benjamin Jacks, MALS-12 assistant aviation ordnance officer, said the ordnance Marines have been doing a great job putting together good packages for Marine pilots.
The Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 314 Black Knights have been using live ordnance during several of the training scenarios conducted in support of Talisman Sabre.
Capt. Riccardo Scalise, a VMFA-314 pilot and aviation safety officer, said working with live ordnance is very critical for pilots because they gain a better understanding of the capabilities of ordnance they are using.
“You see the effects of your ordnance when it actually goes off,” said Scalise. “We’re able to practice with our pods and record the effects, which you can’t do with just inert ordnance.”
What the ordnance Marines are doing throughout the exercise is extremely vital for the training and experience pilots gain during the exercise, he added.
Although the focus for the ordnance Marines has been to train with their Australian counterparts and build bombs in support of the exercise, Talisman Sabre has also presented the Marines with a great opportunity to crosstrain into different military occupational specialties.
“This is a good environment here where we can actually bring personnel from other MOS’s,” said Jacks. “Whether they decide to actually do a lateral move or not, it is still a good educational experience of what other jobs do in the Marine Corps — from your administrative personnel making sure you get paid to the logistics guys who help move the stuff. It’s an opportunity for them to see what we really do and how we make a difference every day.”
Pfc. Justine McPeters, a Marine Aircraft Group 12 ground supply clerk, was one of the many Marines who decided to take advantage of the cross-training here to try her hand at building bombs.
“I was pretty excited,” said McPeters. “It gave me the chance to see what other people do as Marines instead of just the office work. I’ve been used to just working in the office with office people, and I actually got to go out to where the action was and do hands-on work instead of behind-the-scenes work.”
McPeters said the experience gave her a broader understanding of what else is out there, and she is considering making a move into the ordnance field.
Several of the ordnance Marines were glad they taught others about their jobs through the opportunity afforded to them. They believed it would benefit the Marine Corps if Marines learned more than one MOS.
“This cross-training will give everybody a sort of elasticity when it comes to their jobs,” said Cpl. John A. Moore, a MALS-12 aviation ordnance technician. “Everyone will be able to do different things. They won’t be just in one position. They’ll be able to branch out without much adjustment.”
Other Japan-based Marine units participating in this year’s Talisman Sabre include service members from Marine Wing Support Squadron 171, Marine Attack Squadron 214, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Wing Communication Squadron 18 and Marine Air Control Squadron 4.m