10 May 2023

Weipa can expect to see 1000 troops, says Brigadier

| Matt Nicholls
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At last year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre, Alaskan-based paratroopers from the US Army were dropped in the Townsville Field Training Area by an Australian Army CH-47 Chinook. The Australian Defence Force is bringing a major part of the 2023 exercise to Weipa next year.

THE man in charge of coordinating the biggest joint venture between the Australian and American militaries says he’s excited about Weipa playing a major role in 2023.

Brigadier Damian Hill is the director of Exercise Talisman Sabre and said locals should be preparing to see a major presence in the Cape next year.

“It’s difficult to put a number on it at this stage, but I think around the 1000 mark would be a safe estimate,” he said of the expected troop numbers.

“As far as geography goes, Exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 will be our biggest ever.

“We’re expecting to have a large presence across northern Australia, including Cape York, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.”

Brigadier Hill said that RAAF Base Scherger and the Weipa harbour would provide organisers with a unique training opportunity.

“The objective of the exercise has always been about developing inter-operability between the US and Australian defence forces,” he said.

“It’s high-end warfighting and training.

“Cape York provides us with a really great opportunity to practice some difficult problems.”

Brigadier Hill said the plan was to attempt to run a pipe from near the Weipa harbour all the way to Scherger.

“If we were looking to open up a bare base like Scherger we’d be looking at pumping fuel and oil from Weipa,” he said.

“At this stage, we’re just looking at running a water hose to see how it’s done and what the challenges are

“The heat is going to be a big challenge, especially for the US Marines, who always find it a bit tough over here.

“We’re still finalising plans but we’re looking forward to being in Weipa next year, around late July and early August.”

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