Bridging the gap between American, Australian forces

| August 11, 2011 | 0 Comments
Col. Stephen Myers (right), commander, 5th BCD, USARPAC, and Australian Defence Force Lt. Col. Andrew Garrad, both commanders of liaison units participating in the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre, visit the Roll of Honour, a tribute to Australia’s fallen at the Australian War Memorial in Kingston, Australia, July 25.

Col. Stephen Myers (right), commander, 5th BCD, USARPAC, and Australian Defence Force Lt. Col. Andrew Garrad, both commanders of liaison units participating in the biennial Exercise Talisman Sabre, visit the Roll of Honour, a tribute to Australia’s fallen at the Australian War Memorial in Kingston, Australia, July 25.

Story and Photo by
Spc. Jay P. Lawrence
New York Army National Guard 

CANBERRA, Australia — Australians and Americans may both speak English, but there are definitely times they’re speaking totally different languages.

Much like the difference between Australian English and American English, translating between each service’s processes means recognizing the nuances in each other’s language, said Lt. Col. Curby Scarborough, planning officer, 5th Battlefield Coordination Detachment, U.S. Army-Pacific, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Fortunately, the mission of the 5th BCD is all about helping warriors from different military cultures, who use different military jargon and acronyms, talk to each other.

“Each service talks a little differently and does things a little differently, and because of that, that’s why we’re here,” said Lt. Col. Robert Buscher, intelligence officer, 5th BCD.

The 5th BCD is responsible for an area extending from Alaska to Australia, from California to China, and from under the sea to the upper atmosphere.

When Soldiers need something from the Air Force — whether it’s fire support, transportation or intelligence — they go through the 5th BCD for the request. In turn, 5th BCD provides the Air Force with a real-time perspective of what’s happening on the ground, as well as support in planning and air defense.

“We make sure that the air side knows everything they need to know about the land side,” Buscher said, “and we make sure that the land side can trust they have air assets to help them.”

“We take it for granted in the Army, but the space above us needs to be carved out,” said Scarborough. “It’s a very detailed process, because who would want to put a million-dollar aircraft up there and not have it fulfill its capacity?”

As part of Exercise Talisman Sabre, a biennial training activity sponsored jointly by the U.S. Pacific Command and the Australian Defence Force Joint Operations Command, the 5th BCD worked side by side with members of the 1st Ground Liaison Group to ensure that 14,000 U.S. and 9,000 Australian military personnel, participating in maritime, land and air operations exercises, had the integration they needed.

“Just by interacting, we’ve learned a lot about the similarities and differences between our sides,” Scarborough said. “Our similarities allowed us to easily understand our role. … The different ways we learned how to do things may help us down the line.”

To understand how the Air Force operates, 5th BCD Soldiers attend Air Force schools, learn Air Force terms and work at the 613th Air and Space Operations Center, or AOC.

BCD Soldiers said interacting with Australians, who normally do not operate around an AOC concept, showed them that learning also extends both ways in operations with other countries.

The exercise with Australia forces increased the confidence that, if called to war, 5th BCD would be able to adapt and thrive in any mission, said Col. Stephen Myers, commander, 5th BCD.

 

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Category: Deployed Forces, News

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