The ADF has recognised two United States Marine Corps (USMC) officers for their commitment to combined training between the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) and Australian forces. 

On October 11, Commander of the 1st Division, Major General Justin “Jake” Ellwood, presented both Commanding Officer MRF-D Colonel David M Banning and operations officer Lieutenant Colonel Amy Roznowski with Gold ADF Commendations.

The award is a gold oval badge stamped with the ADF crest, and it is a presentation rarely made to personnel from others forces. 

Chief of Staff of the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade, Lieutenant Colonel Mike Webbe, read Colonel Banning's citation to the audience made up of colleagues, highlighting his exceptional leadership of the MRF-D throughout 2020 and 2021, and his relentless pursuit of enhancing ADF-USMC bilateral interoperability.

“He led his team with diligence and professionalism in re-planning all exercise serials to optimise training outcomes for both the US Marine Corps and the ADF,” Lieutenant Colonel Webbe read.

This was the second consecutive year Colonel Banning and Lieutenant Colonel Roznowski deployed with the MRF-D.

This year, more than six exercises were held on Australian soil. 

The MRF-D has deployed about 2200 marines and sailors as part of a 25-year agreement established by the Australian and US governments under the US Force Posture Initiative. 

Colonel Banning said the significance of the rotational deployments was something he would take forward with him in his military career.

“I’ve been reflecting on what a tremendous privilege it has been to be a part of the historic relationship with our ADF brothers- and sisters-in-arms,” Colonel Banning said.

“I am tremendously proud of all of our marines and sailors, and this commendation is a reflection of their work. 

“To receive it from close mates is a real honour.” 

Training during the COVID-19 pandemic was made possible by months of planning, led by MRF-D operations officer Lieutenant Colonel Roznowski.

Lieutenant Colonel Webbe also read Lieutenant Colonel Roznowski's citation, which stated: “The ADF Gold Commendation is awarded to Lieutenant Colonel Amy Roznowski for her tireless work navigating the operational complexities generated by the COVID-19 pandemic, planning, resourcing and executing multiple joint collective training events with the ADF.”

Lieutenant Colonel Roznowski said an operations officer was only successful because of the team that surrounded them. 

“When I wear this award, I will think of the robust planning and meticulous execution the hard-working team has achieved during my time with MRF-D,” Lieutenant Colonel Roznowski said.

The awards, endorsed by Chief of Joint Operations Lieutenant General Greg Bilton, recognised the effort of both the senior marine officers and their dedication to two MRF-D rotations during the global pandemic.

Before their departure, the team set the conditions for the arrival of the 11th MRF-D rotation, scheduled to arrive at the beginning of northern Australia’s dry season from April next year.