Australia and United States strengthen friendship and working relationships in Darwin
26 September 2013
The second rotation of 200 United States Marines departed Darwin for Hawaii today after a six month deployment to Australia’s Northern Territory. During this time, the Hawaii-based Marines conducted bilateral training with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and their own Marine-specific training.
Commander 1st Brigade Brigadier John Frewen said Australia and the United States valued the opportunity to learn from each other.
“The second iteration of the US Marine Rotational Force - Darwin has been highly successful in fostering cooperation and inter-operability between our two militaries,” he said.
“Building on the achievements of the first rotation, this rotation of US Marines worked more closely with troops from 5 RAR, pushed their training further afield - including into the Bradshaw Field Training Area for the first time - and developed close ties to the Darwin community.
“Whether in training, in the messes or on the sports fields, the Marine Rotational Force - Darwin have enhanced their reputation in Australia and we look forward to their return in larger numbers next year.”
The ADF and the Marines worked together in a number of small-scale exercises and also last month’s Exercise Koolendong at Bradshaw, south-west of Darwin. This provided an opportunity for about 800 United States and Australian personnel to conduct a live-fire exercise in a remote and austere training environment.
Other participants in Exercise Koolendong were from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit deployed in ships led by the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard and around 150 Australian Army participants from the Darwin-based 5 RAR.
The Marines also participated in exercises in New Zealand and Tonga, and participated in an Australia-Indonesia humanitarian assistance and disaster relief tabletop exercise held in Darwin.
United States Marine Corps Liaison Officer Colonel Javier Ball said it had been a successful deployment.
“These rotations provide outstanding training opportunities to enhance coordination and interoperability between United States and Australian forces,” he said
Leading coordination arrangements for the Marine rotation, Head of Joint Capability Coordination Air Vice-Marshal Neil Hart, was pleased with the shared outcomes since the initial rotation last year.
“Through these two rotations, we have not only strengthened our friendships and working relationships but have built a strong foundation for our future,” he said.
The United States Marine Corps six-month rotations through northern Australia will increase to around 1150 personnel from 2014. The majority of the Marines will be accommodated at Robertson Barracks, with a smaller aviation support contingent of around 130 personnel at RAAF Darwin, along with four heavy lift helicopters.
“Defence is looking forward to the opportunities the next rotation will provide, with work to begin shortly at Robertson Barracks and RAAF Darwin in preparation for the much larger 2014 rotation,” Air Vice-Marshal Hart said.
Imagery from the departure is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20131541
Further information and imagery is available on the United States Department of Defense website at: www.dvidshub.net/unit/MRF-D.
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999