The USAF in Queensland: July 2019


More than 90 personnel from a United States Air Force (USAF) aircraft maintenance unit were stationed at RAAF Base Amberley, Queensland, for Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019.

Weapons, avionics, environmental, mechanical and production specialists assisted the 90th Fighter Squadron with the first F-22 Raptor fighter jet operations in Australia.

Master Sergeant Fredrick Cook Jr, the lead production superintendent, said his team received the tasking months before the exercise began and supported up to 14 aircraft sorties a day.

“The goal of Talisman Sabre 2019, for us, is to learn to operate away from home,” Master Sergeant Cook said.

“We are working closely with the RAAF maintenance operations centre here on base regarding the delivery of equipment and engine repairs.

“We have deployed to Amberley millions of dollars in parts for the F-22s – so it has been a massive undertaking.”

Parked near the No. 36 Squadron hangar, deployable debriefing facilities and combat communications centres were also installed by USAF personnel.

“The goal of Talisman Sabre 2019, for us, is to learn to operate away from home.”

Master Sergeant Cook said the international airlift effort and preparation involved multiple aircraft.

“When we first arrived, there were kangaroos hopping all over the taxiway – such a unique thing for our team to see,” he said.

Flight Lieutenant Sam Stockdale, the officer in charge of the Amberley Talisman Sabre 2019 Maintenance Operations Centre (MOC), said it had been stood up as a conduit.

“The MOC assists Master Sergeant Cook and his team with the coordination of resources, such as fuel, and acts as a liaison for the prioritisation of other local base services – even aircraft parking,” Flight Lieutenant Stockdale said.

“Essentially, the MOC is a centralised maintenance cell acting as a host for our visitors.”

He said USAF personnel were embedded in the MOC on an ad-hoc basis to assist with the humorous language differences that arise.

“The main one is calling aircraft fuel ‘gas’ and tow motors ‘tugs’,” Flight Lieutenant Stockdale said.

“These things are easy to get around. Yesterday, I had to clarify that a ‘skip’ is just a big trash can.”

This article was published by the Australian Department of Defence

July 25, 2019

The featured photo shows Royal Australian Air Force No. 23 Squadron Movements Aircraft Refueller Leading Aircraftman Craig Stewart, left, teaming with United States Air Force Aircraft Refueller Airman First Class Paul Bonham to refuel aircraft on the flightline at Amberley.