GALLERY: Crowds at the Talisman Sabre open day
CROWDS of families, children and all ages flocked through the gates of the Rockhampton Showgrounds on Saturday to check out all the military vehicles on show as part of Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 open day.
Local councillors and MPs gathered to welcome the military forces and personnel.
Rockhampton region acting mayor Cherie Rutherford acknowledged how honoured she was to have all of the combined military forces in town.
Various army trucks and equipment were set up in the arenas at the showgrounds with military aircraft above.
"We realise how important the Shoalwater Bay Training Area is to the training of our military personnel but also to our community and the history we have with the United States,” she said.
Exercise Talisman Sabre 2019 director Commodore Allison Norris said the open day was about showcasing the wide range of capabilities the forces have and to interact with the local community.
"It's a great day for families to come down and have a chat with the Australian Defence Force and United States forces, talk about the opportunities available for future careers but also to get an insight to what we do on a daily basis,” she said.
Activities are starting to ramp up for the exercise around Shoalwater Bay Training Area which will feature a lot of amphibious landings.
"The ship will sail to participate in activities at sea to look at all aspects of maritime warfare. We also have aircraft flying out of number of air bases,” she said.
While the cost of the exercise could not be revealed, Commodore Norris said the benefits for the ADF and national security are "enormous”.
Capricornia MP Michelle Landry echoed how important the exercises are for our region and security.
"Shoalwater Bay is the best training facility in the southern hemisphere,” she said.
"It's a great opportunity for all the different forces from different countries to come here and actually participate in training together.”
Ms Landry noted the "fantastic boost” the exercise provides across sectors from food deliveries to tourism as personnel go out and about and buy souvenirs.
She doesn't like protesters and said they "need to take a good look at themselves”.
"This is about the defence of our nation and of other countries. I get very frustrated when they are out protesting things like this,” she said.
The US Army's Colonel Jerry Hall is looking forward to working in Capricornia over the coming weeks for the exercise.
"It gives us a good opportunity to train at a really high level across all the different domains, land, air, sea, space and cyber,” he said.
Troops have been enjoying some time off in Rockhampton getting to know the area and learning about the connection with the American army during World War II.
Livingstone mayor Bill Ludwig commended the communication with the ADF and the local community in ensuring the smooth operation of the exercise.
"It's a dynamic exercise and a way that our community can embrace and be a part of the important training that both our troops and overseas troops need in working together,” he said.