The first batch of US Marines posted to the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin for 2022 touched down in Darwin over the weekend.
CAPTION: US Marines with the Command Element, 5th Marine Regiment, MRF-D 22 offload a Boeing 777 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, NT, Australia, 12 March 2022. US Marine Corps photo by Corporal Cedar Barnes.
This weekend’s influx is the advance party, preparing the way for the main force, which will arrive next month.
From April to October, Marine Rotational Force-Darwin deploys to Australia and trains to designated expeditionary operation tasks, enhances US/Australian interoperability, and conducts regional engagement in order to prepare for crisis and contingency response, advance USMC warfighting concepts, enhance regional security, and demonstrate the strength of the US/Australian Alliance.
This is the 11th year Darwin has hosted the Marine Rotational Force, with numbers and equipment growing year on year.
The 2022 MRF-D will see up to 2200 US personnel including, for the first time, US Army personnel.
Commanding Officer Headquarters Northern Command Colonel Marcus Constable said the rotation would build on the success of last year’s deployment which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Australia, New Zealand, and United States (ANZUS) treaty.
“Australia’s alliance with the United States is our most important defence relationship and is central to Australia’s strategic and security arrangements,” he said.
“The MRF-D is a key way we increase regional cooperation with partners in the Indo Pacific and deepen interoperability between the ADF and the US Marine Corps.
“Together we conduct a comprehensive range of training activities including humanitarian assistance, security operations and high-end live-fire exercises.
“These better position our forces to respond to crises in the region.”
MRF-D Commanding Officer Colonel Christopher Steele said it was an honour to build upon the continuing legacy of the US/Australia alliance.
“This year our Marines will be coming from Camp Pendleton in southern California as the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force assumes this mission, working alongside our US Army and Australian Defence Force counterparts,” Colonel Steele said.
“We are excited to serve as the first regimental headquarters to lead MRF-D, and integrate two highly capable and interoperable forces that advance our shared goals, demonstrate the strength and endurance of our alliance, and contribute to regional security,” Colonel Steele said.
“Being able to continue MRF-D rotations while making the necessary adjustments to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the alliance relationship and the discipline of our forces.”
The procedures for managing MRF-D’s arrival, border entry protocols and possible cases of COVID-19 have been developed and agreed in full consultation with NT health authorities and will strictly adhere to all Australian government requirements to mitigate the risk of COVID-19.