DARWIN, NT, Australia -- Alongside Allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) stands ready to provide Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA/DR) to those in need. In a demonstration of combined readiness and interoperability, service members from the Australian Defence Force, Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI), and MRF-D came together to conduct Exercise Crocodile Response 23, a trilateral training evolution conducted in Indonesia and Northern Australia.
From 5-25 June 2023, combined forces conducted training in three distinct phases. The first in the series, the academics phase, took place in Bogor, Indonesia, where subject matter experts led classroom discussions on lessons learned from previous HA/DR operations. Phase two, a simulated crisis scenario in Darwin, NT, tested the combined staff’s ability to plan and coordinate response efforts. The culminating field training exercise, which took place at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, demonstrated the team’s ability to provide HA/DR through movement of personnel and equipment, water purification, expeditionary medical care, and aerial replenishment of food and supplies.
“CR23 is designed to improve civil-military operations, test HA/DR capabilities, and to build future cooperation and interoperability between MRF-D, the ADF, and TNI, in the event that we have to respond collectively to a crisis in the region,” said Lt. Col. Brandon Mills, commanding officer of the Logistics Combat Element.
Using an Australian Air Force C-27, exercise participants air-dropped a Marine Lightweight Water Purification System into Mount Bundey Training Area, quickly establishing an expeditionary freshwater source capable of producing just under 400 gallons of fresh water every hour.
“Our water purification systems are invaluable assets for sustaining life in disaster relief operations,” said 1st. Lt. Abraham Hunt, executive officer of Combat Logistics Company Bravo. “The lightweight systems can be set up in under an hour and provide an essential resource that is typically compromised in these situations,”
With the addition of casualty evacuation drills injected into the exercise scenario, the combined team of medical professionals practiced Role I and Role II medical care, ranging from standard outpatient treatment and first aid to damage-control surgeries and shock trauma.
“Training specifically with Role I and Role II is lifesaving,” said U.S. Navy LT. Jessica Poulson, “You need to make sure you’re up to date on your skills, and even small logistical tasks such as patient transport need to be practiced to decrease patient mortality and increase survivability.”
Exercise participants used Crocodile Response 23 to share best practices, learn new skills, and develop a better understanding of the unique capabilities each partner nation has to offer.
“During this year’s exercise, the three international partners practiced their combined disaster relief skills during scenarios including the loss of essential services to a fictional remote community after the impact of a tropical cyclone,” said Royal Australian Navy Captain Mitchell Livingstone, commander of Headquarters Northern Command. “The exercise was a real success with valuable lessons learnt by all participants and key relationships strengthened.”
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.