DARWIN, Australia -- The Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) 22 ground combat element (GCE), led by 3d Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (3/7), participated in exercise PREDATOR’S RUN, integrating into the Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) 1st Brigade to enhance combined and littoral capabilities in a simulated combat environment from August 20-27.
“Our primary objective is to enhance combined arms integration with our Australian allies,” said GCE commander Lieutenant Colonel Tyler Holt, while preparing to lead his Marines and Sailors into the exercise. “PREDATOR’S RUN provides us that opportunity and our Marines and Sailors are excited to build even more proficiency with 1st Brigade.”
PREDATOR’S RUN offered a unique training opportunity to MRF-D in many ways. The exercise simulated a littoral combat scenario, similar to 1st Marine Division’s STEEL KNIGHT, where training areas represented key terrain in an archipelagic environment. PREDATOR’S RUN is an early step in 1st Brigade’s ongoing integration into littoral combat, a skillset the Marine Corps is excited to help with.
“Combined arms fighting is tough work, but incredibly rewarding, and training with MRF-D allows us to increase our capabilities,” said ADF Major Anthony Purdy, the operations officer for the Australian 1st Brigade, while briefing 1st Marine Division Commanding General, Major General Benjamin Watson during his recent visit. “This exercise represents a shift back to warfighting for us after a lot of support to domestic operations, so it is a great opportunity and we’re lucky to have our Marine teammates at our side.”
Another unique aspect for the MRF-D infantry was the chance to train alongside main battle tanks. The ADF supported PREDATOR’S RUN with elements of the 1st Armoured Regiment, including M1A1 Abrams, the tank Marines used to suppress and destroy enemy positions in the historic battle of Fallujah and across the Middle East in operations IRAQI FREEDOM and ENDURING FREEDOM.
“It was an exciting and interesting experience to train alongside the Australians during PREDATOR’S RUN, especially their tanks,” offered Sergeant Anfernee Richardson, a squad leader with 3/7 who stepped up as a platoon sergeant for the exercise. “The Australians brought their weapon systems to the fight, and we brought ours, and it was great to integrate those into the same team to increase our effectiveness and lethality.”
In addition to the Australians, PREDATOR’S RUN offered MRF-D the chance to train alongside Philippine and Malaysian soldiers, further increasing the international interaction of the deployment. Both the Philippines and Malaysia are supporting exercise PITCH BLACK alongside the MRF-D aviation combat element, but MRF-D greatly enjoyed getting into the details of combined maneuver alongside our regional allies and partners.
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.