Australian soldiers practice tank recovery skills using the M88A2 HERCULES

Australian soldiers practice recovery of an overturned tank using the M88A2 HERCULES Aug.4. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

Australian soldiers practice recovery of an overturned tank using the M88A2 HERCULES Aug.4. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)


By Lindsay Marchello, Bayonet & Saber /


Australian Army soldiers got a welcomed opportunity to train with U.S. Soldiers during the week of Aug. 4 on using the M88A2 Heavy Equipment Recovery Combat Utility Lift Evacuation System.

The M88A2 HERCULES is a full-tracked, armored vehicle that is used in tank recovery. It is the primary recovery support for the Abrams tank fleet, the heavy Assault Bridge and heavy self-propelled artillery. (Photos by Lindsay Marchello)

The M88A2 HERCULES is a full-tracked, armored vehicle that is used in tank recovery. It is the primary recovery support for the Abrams tank fleet, the heavy Assault Bridge and heavy self-propelled artillery.

The M88A2 HERCULES primary purpose is to support the Abrams tank fleet. It is used to recover tanks that are stuck, badly damaged, overturned or swamped.

Lt. Col. David Heatley, the Australian Army Liaison Officer with the Maneuver Center of Excellence, explained that the Australian Army came to the U.S. to acquire six M88A2 Recovery Vehicles and decided to take a detour to Fort Benning for training.

“The purpose of the visit was to allow the Australian Army Recovery specialists that operate the M88A2 Recovery Vehicle a transfer of current techniques, procedures, knowledge and attitudes to operate, maintain and instruct on the newly configured M88A2s,” said Heatley.

The Australian Soldiers got to train with the U.S. Marines on recovering a swamped tank, and the 1st Battalion, 81st Armor Regiment, on recovering an overturned tank.

“It was a great experience,” said Cpl. Mitchell Currey, 2nd Calvary regiment of the Australian Army. Currey explained that while they have some differences in how they recover tanks in comparison to the U.S. Army, they also have similarities.

“The Australian Soldiers worked with both the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps M88A2 Recovery instructors in a practical hands on environment to share experiences and refresh and update skills,” said Heatley. “It was a great opportunity to promote a level of technical and procedural interoperability between our forces which have a strong history of conducting operations together.”

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