AFSBn Lewis-McChord prepares containers for shipment to Australia in support of Talisman Sabre 2023
1 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Cargo traveling from Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington to Australia for exercise Talisman Sabre 2023 passed their biosecurity inspection and received their biosecurity verification stickers, meaning they were approved to ship to Australia. (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
AFSBn Lewis-McChord prepares containers for shipment to Australia in support of Talisman Sabre 2023
2 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Employees from the Army Field Support Battalion Lewis-McChord and the 404th Army Field Support Brigade work to clean and prepare cargo traveling from the United States to Australia in support of exercise Talisman Sabre 2023. All cargo must be inspected to ensure that containers do not bring any material that has the potential to introduce an exotic pest or disease, known as Biosecurity Risk Material, into Australia.  (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
AFSBn Lewis-McChord prepares containers for shipment to Australia in support of Talisman Sabre 2023
3 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Personnel from the Army Field Support Battalion Lewis-McChord and the 404th Army Field Support Brigade work to clean and prepare cargo traveling from the United States to Australia in support of exercise Talisman Sabre 2023. All cargo must be inspected to ensure that containers do not bring any material that has the potential to introduce an exotic pest or disease, known as Biosecurity Risk Material, into Australia.  (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
AFSBn Lewis-McChord prepares containers for shipment to Australia in support of Talisman Sabre 2023
4 / 4 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Soldiers from the Army Field Support Battalion Lewis-McChord and the 404th Army Field Support Brigade work to clean and prepare cargo traveling from the United States to Australia in support of exercise Talisman Sabre 2023. All cargo must be inspected to ensure that containers do not bring any material that has the potential to introduce an exotic pest or disease, known as Biosecurity Risk Material, into Australia.  (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. – U.S. Army Sustainment Command has been hard at work preparing for the upcoming exercise Talisman Sabre 2023, which will take place between the U.S. military and the Australian Defense Force from July 22 to Aug. 4.

TS23 is a biennial, multinational military exercise that focuses on crisis-action planning and contingency responses. The exercise, designed to test both nations' ability to respond to regional contingencies, has been held every two years since 2005.

One necessary aspect of TS23 preparation is the cleaning and inspection of all cargo traveling from the United States to Australia to ensure that containers do not bring any material that has the potential to introduce an exotic pest or disease, known as Biosecurity Risk Material, into Australia.

BRMs include animal material, live animals, food refuse, live insects, snails, plant pathogens, plant materials, and soil. Goods entering Australia must be free of all BRM.

Some of the major biosecurity risks that Australia faces are the African swine fever, which can be spread through meat products containing pork and the entry of the brown marmorated stink bug.

Strategic Deployment Center employees at the Army Field Support Battalion Lewis- McChord, located at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, have been meticulously planning and working to prepare containers and equipment for inspection, leading up to their deployment to Australia in support of the TS23 exercise.

The AFSBn-LM SDC team consists of approximately 20 Soldiers, Civilians and contractors. The installation transportation officer, deputy support operations officer, and support operations transportation/power projection officer were also involved in the planning and execution of the operation.

“AFSBn-LM began initial coordination with I Corps and units participating in the Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry process as early as December 2022, identifying piece count requirements, DAFF Inspector Space requirements in the AFSBn-LM footprint, and special considerations, such as sterilizing the workspace, to prepare for the inspection and staging,” said Maj. Ian Greven, AFSBn-LM Support Operations officer.

Overall, 161 pieces of rolling stock, 49 break bulk containers, 77 containers of various sizes, and 11 helicopters were included in the inspection. The containers and rolling stock contained a variety of equipment, including but not limited to generators, cold-weather bags, tentage, office supplies, vehicles, Rough Terrain Cargo Handlers and trailers.

Prior to inspection, all cargo had to be fully dismantled and cleaned. Agriculture approved inspectors, along with Australian DAFF biosecurity officers, then conducted the inspections of these assets.

One of the teams working to prepare and push through containers was the 404th Army Field Support Brigade, also located at JBLM.

Leading up to inspections, 404th AFSB employees spent multiple days cleaning every nook and cranny of the containers, down to the point of using Q-tips.

“We attended multiple I Corps interim progress reports and operational planning teams in order to understand what the biosecurity inspection officer and Australian DAFF inspector would be looking for,” said Capt. Mary Lara, 404th AFSB S3 current operations supervisor. “Containers had to be power washed inside and outside and completely free of dust, dirt and debris. We used air compressors to clean out the insides after containers were dry; every box packed inside the container had to be unpacked so the equipment and box could also be inspected. Every item was shop vacuumed and wiped down.”

Once goods and equipment are declared clean, they must be packed into clean containers and are not to be re-opened, to ensure no BRMs enter the containers after inspection.

The hard work of the AFSBn-LM and 404th AFSB teams paid off, as all equipment passed the inspection and received their biosecurity verification stickers, meaning they were approved to ship to Australia.

Inspections of all TS23 cargo were completed as of April 26, and fort-to-port movement of cargo was staged at the Port of Tacoma May 12.