Juneau Focuses On Protecting Great Barrier Reef

Friday, June 15, 2007
By Mass Communications Specialist 1st Class Michael D. Kennedy, Fleet Public Affairs Center Det. Sasebo

In preparation for Talisman Saber 2007 (TS07), Sailors and embarked Marines aboard USS Juneau (LPD 10) are learning environmental protection measures to safely preserve Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The main operating area for the exercise -- which will bring together nearly 32,000 U.S.-Australian forces for training -- is in Shoalwater Bay Training Area. The 1,000 square mile area near the Barrier Reef has a high environmental value. The area is administered by the Australian Army to ensure sound environmental practices are observed.

The Australian Department of Defense provided Juneau with an educational video that outlines way to protect marine and wildlife while operating in the area both at sea and on land. The first portion describes what actions personnel are to take when encountering marine mammals and how to protect the delicate coral ecosystems of the reef system while conducting sonar operations. The second describes the requirements for forces operating ashore, including the proper disposition of hazardous materials and providing information on hazardous wildlife.

To further protect the environment in Australia, the Australian Quarantine & Inspection Service (AQIS) helped Juneau and 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) ensure that no outside environmental influences —- like insects and other biological material —- were introduced during the exercise. AQIS thoroughly inspected Juneau and the 31st MEU down to each Marine's individual “rucksack” during a recent port visit to Brisbane, Australia. Preventive Medicine Technician, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class (SW) Fredrick Head is responsible for ensuring Juneau is compliance with all Australian rules and regulations.

Juneau is ensuing everything they do is discussed ahead of time to ensure the safety of its personnel and the environment. “Talisman Saber was designed with environmental considerations at the forefront, and every U.S. participant was presented specific environmental training for this region,” said Juneau Commanding Officer Capt. John D. Alexander. “All exercise events are briefed in thorough detail and employ the tenants of operational risk management, not only for our personnel but for the environment. By emphasizing good stewardship in this way, I am fully confident we will leave the environment the way we found it and meet our training objectives.”

Juneau is participating in Exercise TS07, a U.S.- and Australian- led joint Task Force operation preparing our militaries for crisis-action planning and execution of contingency operations. Exercise TS07 is designed to maintain a high level of interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces, demonstrating the U.S. and Australian commitment to our military alliance and regional security. The exercise also supports increased flexibility and readiness, which are force multipliers in winning the global war on terrorism. Juneau is the only forward-deployed amphibious transport dock and serves Task Force 76, the Navy’s only forward-deployed amphibious force. Task Force 76 is headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa, Japan, with an operating detachment in Sasebo, Japan

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