DARWIN, Australia -- The U.S. and Australian governments are set to continue a key component of their alliance with the 11th iteration of the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D).
The first wave of Marines and Sailors are arriving in the Northern Territory, and they will build upon the 100-year old relationship between American and Australian defense departments.
MRF-D 22 is part of a 25-year agreement initially announced by then-President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Julia Gillard in 2011. This year’s rotation will continue to train alongside Australian Defence Force units, and other allies and partners, to ensure U.S. Marines are able to support crisis response and contingency operations in the region.
“It is an honor to build upon the continuing legacy of the outstanding U.S.-Australian alliance and AUKUS agreement,” said Colonel Chris Steele, the MRF-D Commanding Officer. “We are excited to serve as the first regimental headquarters to lead MRF-D as I MEF assumes this mission, 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.”
For the first time since MRF-D’s inception, a standing Marine Corps regimental command element will lead the rotation. The first honor belongs to the 5th Marine Regiment of the 1st Marine Division. The increased command presence not only further demonstrates the Marine Corps’ commitment to MRF-D, but also provides a certified leadership team to support the variety of exercises and tasks. The transition from III MEF to I MEF (Marine Expeditionary Force) means the majority of USMC personnel will come from units stationed in Southern California. MRF-D 22 will also include a detachment from the U.S. Army Pacific to support joint and combined interoperability with the Marines and ADF.
MRF-D will continue to work closely with its Australian Defence Force counterparts to coordinate details of the training and employment schedule, which will include a number of multi-lateral exercises to improve interoperability and deepen the ties between Australia, the United States, and other regional allies and partners.
Deployed U.S. service members will strictly adhere to the Australian COVID-19 protocols to ensure a safe rotation in the Northern Territory, and with allies and partners.
For questions regarding this release, please contact the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin media inquiry email address at MRFDMedia@usmc.mil. Imagery from this rotation and previous can be found at dvidshub.net/unit/MRF-D.