First flight
Pilots and crew members from the Royal Australia Air Force flank members from the 8th Theater Sustainment Command upon completion of the RAAF’s first flight as a chartered member of the Movement Control Center – Europe during Talisman Sabre 23. Talisman Sabre is the largest bilateral military exercise between Australia and the United States, with multinational participation, advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enhancing our collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Theresa Christie) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

BRISBANE, Australia - In a small ceremony on Eindhoven Air Base, Netherlands, the Australian flag was raised alongside the other 29 member nations of the Movement Control Center—Europe, June 28, 2023.

The serendipitous timing of the ceremony paved the way for the Royal Australian Air Force to successfully complete its first MCC-E mission during Talisman Sabre 23.

“We talk about partnerships a lot in the Indo-Pacific and the strategic benefit it provides,” said Maj. Gen. Jared Helwig, commander, 8th Theater Sustainment Command. “This is just one small example of that. Collectively we can accomplish a whole lot more when like-minded nations work together.”

As it would happen, Helwig and members from his team were canvassing available flight options from Weipa to Darwin to visit one of the many Talisman Sabre training sites.

However, due to Weipa’s remote location, no direct flights were available, turning a would-be short flight into a full day of travel.

“Upon receiving the request from the 8th TSC, we reached out to the 1st Joint Movements Unit team in Australia to see if they could provide support,” said Martin Gruber, senior movement coordinator, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command. “In just four days and lots of communication, 1JMU built the flight for the Royal Australian Air Force, which is testament to the U.S. – Australian alliance.”

Upon completion of the flight, Helwig recognized the crew for participating in Talisman Sabre 23 and for completing their first mission as a chartered member of the MCC-E.

First flight
Flight Sgt. Andre Coates provides the safety brief to Maj. Gen. Jered Helwig, commander, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, center; Command Sgt. Maj. Frank Graham Jr., 8th TSC command sergeant major, right; and Capt. Sam Vona, aide-de-camp, prior to their trip to Darwin during Talisman Sabre 23. The flight signified the first flight by the Royal Australian Air Force as a chartered member of Movement Control Center - Europe. (U.S. Army photo by Maj. Theresa Christie) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
“This first step opens the door to enhanced movements interoperability between the Australia Defence Force and the U.S.,” said GPCAPT Alan Brown, commander, 1st Joint Movements Unit. “It’s great our first MCC-E mission was to support 8th TSC and Maj. Gen. Helwig, one of our closest logistics partners.”

The Movement Control Center - Europe is responsible for coordinating employment of multinational lift in the European theater and other locations within the purview of the charter members.

Helwig is in Australia serving as the U.S. exercise director for Talisman Sabre 23 and commander of the combined joint theater sustainment command, overseeing sustainment operations for the exercise.

Talisman Sabre is the largest bilateral military exercise between Australia and the United States, with multinational participation, advancing a free and open Indo-Pacific by strengthening relationships and interoperability among key allies and enhancing our collective capabilities to respond to a wide array of potential security concerns.