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NEWS | April 15, 2022

Meet Marine Rotational Force-Darwin 22: the Ground Combat Element

By Capt. Joseph DiPietro Marine Rotational Force - Darwin

DARWIN, Australia -- The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) ground combat element (GCE) comes to Australia prepared for operations in any clime or place.

Led by Third Battalion, Seventh Marines (3/7), and joined by units from Third Battalion, Eleventh Marines (3/11) and First Combat Engineer Battalion (CEB), the MRF-D 22 GCE provides the immediate combat power and lethality needed to respond to crises or contingencies.

“I am proud of the warfighting skill and teamwork our Marines and Sailors demonstrated working up to this point,” said Lieutenant Colonel Tyler Holt, the Commanding Officer for 3/7 and the GCE. “We look forward to building on our combined combat credibility with our Australian allies and other regional partners.”

3/7 activated in 1941 and immediately made an impact in combat. The battalion participated in battles on Guadalcanal, New Britain, Peleliu, and Okinawa during World War II, and continued successful and honorable service in Korea, Vietnam, and the Middle East. With their reinforcements from 3/11 and 1st CEB, the GCE is postured to conduct missions across the full range of military operations.

“Our Marines are at their peak performance following Exercise STEEL KNIGHT and our Marine Corps Combat Readiness Evaluation,” said Major John Critz, the Executive Officer for 3/7 and the GCE. “We are excited to move the ball forward with not only maneuver, but also communication and information alongside 1st Brigade and the Australian Defence Force (ADF).”

The most notable change in the GCE compared to past rotations is the work-up training leading to its deployment to Australia. In December, 3/7 served as part of the exercise force for the First Marine Division’s STEEL KNIGHT (SK22). During SK22, 3/7 and other units implemented modern naval warfighting techniques and procedures to better prepare for various combat operations in austere, littoral environments. The GCE will further implement these practices alongside ADF units to increase integrated deterrence capabilities in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific.

For questions regarding this story, 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.

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