USS Charleston participates in Exercise Kakadu 2022


The RAN is the lead for KA22, an exercise that is backed by Royal Australian Air Force. It is their most prestigious annual regional international exercise and has grown in both size and complexity since it was first introduced at the beginning of 1993.

“Exercise Kakadu is our Navy’s largest international engagement event and is crucial for building connections between countries that participate,” said RAN Chief of Navy Vice Admiral. Mark Hammond.

Charleston was a member of the KA22 Task Group 628.1 which was led by Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force destroyer JS Kirisame (DD 104) as well as other vessels like the Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KD Lekiu (FFG 30), Royal Thai Navy frigate HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej (FFG 471), French Navy frigate FS Vendemiaire (F 734) and RAN frigate HMAS Perth (FFH 157).

Additionally, U.S. Navy participation in KA22 was the presence of personnel of Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 7 and an P-8 Poseidon sea patrol aircraft and reconnaissance aircraft.

“Australia is among our most trusted allies. It’s a huge honour and privilege for the USS Charleston to be participating alongside a number of local partners in the most important navy exercise” stated Cmdr. Clay Beas, commanding officer of Charleston.

Harbor phase ran from September. 12-15, was a time for briefings by the multinational exercise control shore element, task group break-out sessions, pre-sail briefings as well as a sports day and the closing and opening ceremonies.

“Experiencing Darwin and meeting all the wonderful people from all across the globe has certainly been an unforgettable experience,” said Mineman 3rd Class Timothy Messick, assigned to Charleston. “I believe building personal connections during events like sports day as well as the professional connections at sea are the things these exercises are about.”

The KA22 at sea portion that took place from between Sept. 15 – 24, was divided into two parts – free-play and training for force integration. Each of the phases showcased a range of training developments ranging from basic maneuvers on ships to top-of-the-line naval warfare in a multi-faceted setting.

These exercises included: air defense, flight operations, surface warfare, gunnery exercises, small boat drills, man overboard drills, and replenishments-at-sea.

“The cooperation, leadership, and friendship that we have seen over the past two weeks is crucial in creating a more open and free Indo-Pacific,”” Beas said. Beas.

The 15th iteration of the RAN’s most prestigious biennial maritime engagement exercise that brings together more than 3000 people as well as 15 warships, plus more than 30 planes representing over 22 countries.

It is attached to DESRON 7, Charleston is in a rotational deployment within the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to support stabilization and security throughout the region and also to cooperate with allies and partner navies in providing security and stability in the maritime sector, the most important pillars of a safe and free Indo-Pacific.

The U.S. Navy’s Forward-Deployed Destroyer squadron for Southeast Asia, DESRON 7 is the primary operational and tactical commander of littoral combat ships that rotate to Singapore is also the an Expeditionary Strike Group 7’s sea Commandant and develops alliances through training exercises as well as military-to-military exchanges.

As the Under Command, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest fleet that is forward-deployed that routinely collaborates and cooperates with 35 maritime countries in maintaining a open and free Indo-Pacific region.