Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. -To prevent the spread of potentially harmful diseases and parasitic microorganisms to the Australian ecosystem, Soldiers from the New York National Guard cleansed military vehicles at Joint Base Lewis-McChord March 29, 2017.
After being inspected by biological security officers from Australia's Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, the vehicles will be shipped to Australia and utilized during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2017, a biennial joint Australia-United States Military training exercise in Central and Northern Australia.
"Because Australia is such a secluded and isolated continent, they don't have a lot of the diseases the rest of the world has," said 1st Lt. Jacob Thompson, the operations executive officer of C Troop 2nd Squadron, 101st Cavalry Regiment. "We're making sure we don't have any bugs, seeds, or any biological foreign material inside our vehicles or equipment, that could potentially harm the ecosystem or environment in Australia."
After all the vehicles are stripped down and all the equipment is taken out, they are ran through with a flashlight by Australian biological security officers to make sure no harmful or foreign material is left inside.
"We have 118 pieces of rolling stock on ground," said Thompson. "And we're breaking them down to just the barebones, all the way down to the frame and the armor."
The NYNG Soldiers are on a volunteer assignment and will be at JBLM from mid March to the end of May and will participate in the joint-service exercise in Australia later this year.
"It's going to be a fun trip," said Sgt. Joshua Kaczmara, with Alpha Company, 27th Brigade Special Troops Battalion. "Definitely worth all the work we are putting into it."
The partnered exercise focuses on crisis-action planning and contingency response aimed at enhancing both nations' military capabilities to deal with regional contingencies and the War on Terrorism.
The previous exercise held in 2015 consisted of over 30,000 U.S. and Australian troops, and included a large-scale amphibious landing.
After the NYNG are finished with their time at JBLM, they will be rotated out and replaced by National Guard units from other states, who will continue to prepare the equipment needed in support of Exercise Talisman Sabre.