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US Marines arrive in Darwin for combined training exercises

Commander Headquarters Northern Command, Captain Mitchell Livingstone, CSC, RAN, greets Commanding Officer Marine Rotational Force – Darwin Colonel Brian Mulvihill on his arrival at RAAF Base Darwin. Photo: LSIS Ernesto Sanchez

Australia has welcomed a contingent of United States Marines to the Northern Territory as part of the 13th rotation of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.

Australia has welcomed a contingent of United States Marines to the Northern Territory as part of the 13th rotation of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin.

The new batch of United States Marines will conduct combined training exercises across a number of scenarios with Australian Defence Force personnel during the eight-month rotation until October 2024, according to a statement released by Defence on March 30 this year.

“The marines and sailors of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin are honoured and excited to continue the legacy of cooperation and interoperability with our Australian Defence Force brothers and sisters,” according to Marine Rotational Force – Darwin 2024 Commanding Officer Colonel Brian Mulvihill.

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“Our strong alliance contributes to stability in the region and makes all our forces more ready to respond to any crisis or contingency that arises.”

The 2024 MRF-D rotation is expected to enhance the capabilities, interoperability and readiness of the Australian Defence Force and the United States Marine Corps; as part of an enduring force posture cooperation between Australia and the United States of America.

The rotation originally began in 2012 and has grown to include nations such as Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam to either take part in or observe MRF-D training.

“I’m pleased to welcome the 13th iteration of MRF-D to the Top End,” according to Commanding Officer Headquarters Northern Command, Captain Mitchell Livingstone.

“These rotations not only help build interoperability between the ADF and the US, but also serve to increase regional cooperation with partner nations in the Indo-Pacific.”

“Over the next eight months, the ADF and USMC will conduct a comprehensive range of training activities, including humanitarian assistance, security operations, and live-fire exercises, all of which better prepare our forces to respond effectively to contingencies that may arise.”

Earlier this year, the United States Department of Defense announced a contract opportunity for construction of critical defence infrastructure in Darwin to enhance US–Australian joint military operations and training exercises.

The contract opportunity for eligible Australian companies, includes construction of a parking apron, a maintenance support facility, and an aircraft maintenance hangar at RAAF Base Darwin in the Northern Territory.

The contract also reportedly includes aircraft rinse facility, aircraft wash rack, helicopter landing pads, and supporting facilities as well as the construction of Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron and Marine Wing Support Squadron facilities in support of the Marine Corps Air Combat Element, according to information published by the United States government.

In addition, construction of a Type II aircraft maintenance hangar, telecommunications distribution facility, supporting facilities, utility connections, site improvements, and earthwork necessary for full operation is also required.

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