SURABYA, Indonesia — With Logistics Support Vessel 7 SSGT Robert Kuroda already in Australia for Talisman Sabre 2023, the conditions were set to transport Australian Defence Force tanks and equipment to Indonesia for Super Garuda Shield.
Maj. Nathaniel Sanders, Capt. Margaret Maher and Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jason Earl, all with 8th Theater Sustainment Command, were heavily involved in the planning, coordination, and synchronization with the ADF, United States Marines Corps, and the Darwin and Indonesian Port Authorities to ensure all aspects of the operation went smoothly.
“Early in the planning for Super Garuda Shield we recognized there was an opportunity to transport ADF equipment to Indonesia utilizing our Army watercraft,” said Maher. “Overall, things went great and we demonstrated how well our forces work together.”
The Kuroda was loaded in Darwin Port before setting sail to Tanjung Perak Port in Surabaya, Indonesia. The tanks belong to ADF’s 1st Armoured Regiment and played a major role in the field training exercise during Super Garuda Shield.
“Our participation in Super Garuda Shield 2023 provides an important opportunity for Australia to work with our Indonesian and U.S. partners to support an open, inclusive and stable Indo-Pacific region,” said Lt. Col. Michael Henderson, commander, 1st Armoured Regiment.
“It will also demonstrate our ability to meet the most demanding land challenges in the future and to effectively deploy significant land forces, including armour, across the Indo-Pacific region,” Henderson added.
This isn’t the first time an 8th Theater Sustainment Command vessel supported movement of Australian equipment, but the operation was historic as it was the first time an Australian armor vehicle has departed its home shores since the Vietnam War, according to ADF officials.
For the LSV7 crew, it provided a unique final mission to complete their support to Operation Pathways before returning to Hawaii.
“The best part of doing this lift is that it demonstrates our ability to work seamlessly alongside our Australian partners,” said Chief Warrant Officer 3 Nicholas Kyle. “Although this is done as part of a training exercise, I think it sends a message that the U.S. Army and ADF are integrated, ready, and capable.”
The U.S. and Australia militaries have a storied history of standing side by side that dates back to WWI. Currently, the two countries partner together across multiple Operation Pathways exercises the Indo-Pacific.
Super Garuda Shield is an annual exercise that has significantly grown in scope and size since 2009. This year is the second consecutive time that this exercise has grown into a combined and joint event, highlighting the seven participating and 12 observing nations’ commitment to partnership and a free and open Indo-Pacific.