DARWIN, NT, Australia -- U.S. Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin in collaboration with Australian Army Soldiers completed Exercise Koolendong 2019 in the Northern Territory of Australia in August.
Exercise Koolendong, conducted at Mount Bundey Training Area from 21-29 August, was a live-fire warfighting activity designed to increase interoperability between the U.S. Marine Corps and Australian Defence Force.
“Building stronger bilateral relationships through exercises like Koolendong, while also working with our partners in the Indo-Pacific throughout the annual rotation of Marines, is critical to regional security and stability," said Royal Australian Air Force Group Capt. Stewart Dowrie, commander Headquarters Northern Command.
This activity exercised the ability to command and control a Marine Air-Ground Task Force in coordination with the ADF and included Australia-U.S. integrated elements.
The commanding officer of MRF-D, U.S. Marine Colonel Russ Boyce, said Koolendong demonstrated the U.S. and ADF shared commitment to promoting common security interests in the Indo-Pacific.
“This bilateral combined-arms activity, collaboratively developed by U.S. Marines and ADF service members, is a reflection of our ability to plan and execute complex large-scale activities together,” said Boyce.
A platoon of soldiers from the French Armed Forces of New Caledonia joined the Australia-U.S. exercise, embedded with a company from 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
Batteries from 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, and MRF-D, as well as a MRF-D High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) platoon provided indirect fire support to maneuvering infantry units.
Forces were transported around the exercise by MRF-D MV-22 Osprey Tiltrotor Aircraft.
The exercise included international observers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Sri Lanka.
Koolendong is the culminating activity in a robust MRF-D training schedule.