By Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo, New York Army National GuardAugust 3, 2011
CAMP GROWL, Australia, Aug. 5, 2011 -- The uniforms are different and there are subtle differences in terminology used, but the results are the same for both Australian and American quartermasters: ensuring Soldiers get what they need.
Quartermasters here focused on making sure both U.S. and Australian military personnel got the gear the needed to train with during Talisman Sabre exercises in Australia, July 11-29, 2011.
Talisman Sabre brings together over 20,000 personnel from the different branches of the U.S. and Australian military to exchange combat skills and techniques through joint land force, maritime and air operations maneuvers.
The Australians call it a stretcher -- the U.S. Soldier calls it a cot. A torch is a flashlight, a skivie -- a T-shirt, a swag becomes an individual sleeping tent when translated and jenny is a generator. Regardless of what it’s called, if it’s needed, the quartermaster team is prepared to provide it.
“Our job is to take care of soldiers, regardless of the uniform -- a soldier’s a soldier,” said Sgt. Ernest Kruger, Quartermaster Sergeant assigned to the 9th Combat Services Support Battalion, Australian Defence Force, stationed at Warradale Barracks, Adalaide, South Australia.
“I really enjoy my job because I care about soldiers and like looking after people. It’s quite important because soldiers run on their stomachs, if they don’t eat, they can’t perform their mission,” Krugar added.
Thousands of U.S. and Australian forces landed on beaches or took to the bush in simulated combat field training during Talisman Sabre 2011. Moving together throughout central and northern Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the Coral, Timor and Arafura Seas, with one goal in mind -- defeat a common enemy.
Ground and mounted personnel from both friendly and fictitious enemy forces crossed steep elevations and varied terrains, denying their opponent the capability to conduct counter attacks. Concealing their movements and setting up hasty defense positions.
The biennial training exercises use fictional scenarios incorporated in combined land force maneuvers, amphibious landings, urban and air operations, Special Forces operations, and coordinated firing of live ammunition from a range of in-service weapons systems used by exercise participants.
The multitude of items required to feed, house and keep soldiers on the move can be staggering. The quartermaster provides just about anything needed, from tents and sleeping bags to ration packs and some replacement clothing. They also provide the always needed toilet paper.
For many of the participants it was their first opportunity to train with military personnel from a different culture with different weapons systems.
“It has been great getting to know our Australian counterparts and sharing experiences,” said Staff Sgt. Bryan Strother, a radio operator with the California Army National Guard’s 40th Infantry Division, Sacramento. Strother volunteered to help the supply section for Talisman Sabre and jokingly says he’s learning a new language while he’s here.
Whether its necessities or comfort items, the quartermaster team has gone out of their way to ensure military personnel have what they need to make Talisman Sabre a success.
Here at Camp Growl the quartermaster or the ‘Q-Store’ as it’s called, has become a center hub of activity, open virtually 24-hours a day, ready to assist in soldier care.
They have gone so far as to set up a make-shift shop they call a goffars, were you can purchase the comforts of home, such as a coke and a candy bar.
“It’s a place Soldiers can relax for a few minutes and often identify shortages out in the field,” Kruger said. “It works well since we can quickly either provide them what they need or pass the information onto the leadership who can fix it,” Kruger added.