NEWS | July 26, 2019

U.S. Marines Reach 2,500 in Darwin for First Time

By 1st Lt. Colin Kennard Marine Rotational Force Darwin  

DARWIN, NT, Australia -- Marine Rotational Force – Darwin achieved a major milestone this week with the arrival of additional Marines, reaching 2,500 for the first time in accordance with the Force Posture Initiatives.

This increase in MRF-D personnel is a tangible demonstration of the United States’ sustained commitment to the Australia-U.S. alliance and to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific region. It will improve security cooperation activities, disaster relief response capabilities, and the ability to respond to various crises throughout the region. While reaching 2,500 is a significant milestone, it is important to note that the size of future MRF-D rotations will be based on requirements set jointly by U.S. Marine and Australian Defence Force planners with an emphasis on capabilities rather than a target number of personnel.

The additional MRF-D Marines and sailors will remain in Australia until October and conduct training with the ADF in the Northern Territory at existing training facilities.

A High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, platoon will participate in the MRF-D initiative for the first time. These Marines and equipment, from 3rd Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment in Okinawa, Japan, will provide MRF-D an extended range precision strike capability that can further shape the battlespace.

In addition to the HIMARS platoon, the force enhancement is comprised of an infantry battalion, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based at Marine Corps Base Hawaii; a detachment of Marines from Combat Logistics Battalion 1 based at Camp Pendleton, California; and a Shock Trauma Platoon from 3rd Medical Battalion in Okinawa, Japan. Their inclusion in MRF-D 19 affords more U.S. Marines and Sailors a combined training opportunity with our Australian allies and improves interoperability between our forces.