Aussie Ship Commands Surface Action Group in Pacific Bond

By Lt. Grant McDuling, HMAS Sydney Public Affairs

HMAS SYDNEY, At sea — The Australian guided missile frigate HMAS Sydney took command of a Surface Action Group (SAG) to include USS Preble (DDG 88) during tri-lateral naval exercises in the Western Pacific Ocean off the Marianas Island chain, June 24.

According to HMAS Sydney’s Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Karl Brinckmann, this phase of exercise Pacific bond saw two SAGs, each comprising two major warships and their embarked helicopters, pitted against each other.

“We were paired up with the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Preble [with] our task being to get within range of our target and fire our missiles. The other group’s task was to locate us before we had time to fire and escort us away from the target without having the chance to fire,” said Brinckmann.

HMAS Sydney’s exchange anti-submarine warfare officer, Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Bannister, Royal Navy agrees.

“We maximized our teamwork and all the lessons we have learned so far during this deployment and were able to stay undetected for an hour and a half,” said Bannister. “Through skilled determination and superior knowledge we located the opposing group and were able to adjust our position accordingly to ensure we remained undetected for a lengthy period of time. We were also able to put them off guard when they finally did challenge us, by being belligerent in our responses.”

Brinckmann said he was extremely happy with the way his Surface Action Group performed during the exercise.

“Exercises such as this are about interacting with our allies and improving our ability to operate with one another.”

“Pacific Bond was a resounding success,” said Cmdr. Kurt Sellerberg, commanding officer of Preble.  “We were really able to train on and refine the strong interoperability between our partner navies through extensive maneuvering, warfare area training and personnel exchange opportunities. The coordination in execution across multiple domains highlights our continued partnerships through the SAG vs. SAG event with JS Murasame and HMAS Sydney. I look forward to operating with them in the future.”


Pacific Bond is a multi-national naval exercise designed to advance participating nations’ military-to-military coordination and capacity to plan and execute tactical operations in a multi-warfare environment.

HMAS Sydney is currently embedded in George Washington Carrier Strike Group that is forward-deployed to Yokosuka, Japan. The ship sailed from her home port of Fleet Base East, in Sydney, Australia April 22 and will be away for about 5 months.

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