By Lieutenant Will Singer
HMAS Ballarat and USS John S. McCain united on the high seas and remained in company through the Malacca Strait while sailing for Exercise Malabar.
Both ships will soon join with Indian and Japanese partners for the high-end military exercise.
Ballarat’s Commanding Officer, Commander Antony Pisani, welcomed the cooperative deployment with the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer.
“The cooperative deployment allows HMAS Ballarat and broader Navy to hone our warfare and mariner skills and develop our ability to operate and communicate together,” Commander Pisani said.
“The shared mutual trust both navies have for each other ensure such activities are mutually beneficial, enhancing the readiness and preparedness of the ships that undertake them.
“This deployment reinforces our commitment and right to exercise freedom of navigation and overflight under international law across our Indo-Pacific region.”
Commander Ryan T Easterday, Commanding Officer of USS John S. McCain, said the activity reinforced the strong bond with Australia.
“We find tremendous value in sailing with our close ally Australia, as well as our other allies and partners in support of a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region,” Commander Easterday said.
“The training we are conducting while we operate together helps both ships’ crews improve their mariner skills and warfighting proficiency, in addition to the interoperability benefits we accrue by working together as a team.”
Ballarat’s Officer of the Watch, Lieutenant Matthew Newman, was on duty during the exercise between the two warships.
“The opportunity to exercise close manoeuvring at high speeds was a unique experience that solidified a number of core mariner skills in a real-time context,” Lieutenant Newman said.
“Ballarat and John S. McCain conducted a number of turns, wheels and formations that demonstrated the capability of both vessels and our ability to fight and win at sea.”
Australian Department of Defence
October 30, 2020.