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US Marines complete Top End rotational training and exercises

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The 2018 Marine Rotational Force - Darwin (MRF-D) has wrapped up six months of training and exercises in the Top End.

The 2018 Marine Rotational Force - Darwin (MRF-D) has wrapped up six months of training and exercises in the Top End.

Consisting of 1,587 Marines, the 2018 MRF-D was the seventh and largest rotation to date, and also included a squadron of eight MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor airlift aircraft and an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers. 

During the past six months, MRF-D participated in 15 training activities alongside the Australian Defence Force and other regional nations including Japan, the Philippines and France. MRF-D is a practical demonstration of Australia’s existing strong defence alliance with the US conducted under the US Force Posture Initiatives.


The Initiatives enhance the ability of Australia and the US to work together with regional partners in the interests of regional peace, stability and security and better position both nations to respond to contingencies and natural disasters in the Indo-Pacific.

The 2018 MRF-D participated in a number of key training exercises, including: 

  • Indo-Pacific Endeavour; 
  • Koolendong;
  • Battlegroup Warfighter;
  • Southern Jackaroo; 
  • Diamond Storm; 
  • Hamel; and 
  • Croix De Sud. 

Australia supports a strong US presence in our region to uphold the rules and norms that have underpinned regional prosperity and security for over 70 years. Both Australia and the United States remain committed to working with our allies and partners throughout the Indo-Pacific to ensure the region remains open, inclusive and prosperous.

The 2019 rotation will continue to enhance the Australia-US partnership and strengthen both countries’ response capabilities as well as increase the training and engagement opportunities with regional partners.

The Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) initiative involves the annual rotation of US Marines through northern Australia during the dry season. While in Australia, the MRF-D undertakes a range of activities including training unilaterally and with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and other Indo-Pacific nations’ forces.

The MRF-D initiative has grown in size and complexity since the first rotation of 200 US Marines in 2012 . The 2018 rotation consists of 1,587 US Marines, including a Ground Combat Element supported by an artillery battery of six M777 Howitzers, a Combat Logistics Detachment and an Air Combat Element including eight MV-22 Ospreys. The MRF-D 18 also includes an enhanced Command Element headed by a COL.