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NEWS | May 24, 2024

U.S. Marines and Sailors with MRF-D 24.3 arrive in Townsville, QLD, for Exercise Southern Jackaroo

By 1st Lt. Colton Martin, Marine Rotational Force - Darwin

U.S. Marines and Sailors with Marine Rotational Force Darwin 24.3 arrive in Townsville, QLD, for Exercise Southern Jackaroo, May 23, 2024.

U.S. Marines and Sailors arrived in Townsville for a multilateral training exercise, which takes place in Townsville Field Training Area, alongside Australian Defence Force, Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, Papua New Guinea Defence Force, and members from the U.S. Army to increase interoperability and readiness with Allies and partners. Participating units from MRF-D 24.3 include an infantry company, a combat logistics element, an engineering detachment, indirect fire assets, anti-armor teams, and medical personnel, all led by a forward command element from 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), MRF-D 24.3.

“Exercise Southern Jackaroo is a great opportunity for MRF-D, alongside our Australian Defense Force Allies, to exercise our combined logistics capabilities of moving our people and equipment over 2400 kilometers and aggregating with 3rd Brigade, as well as elements from the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force, PNGDF, and U.S. Army. Post aggregation, the Marines and Sailors will get an outstanding training opportunity alongside our closest Allies, executing both force-on-force and live fire training, which will better posture us to respond to a crisis or contingency,” said Lt. Col. Clinton K. Hall, the commanding officer of 2nd Bn., 5th Marines (Rein.), MRF-D 24.3.

Together the ADF, JGSDF, PNGDF, and U.S. are building relationships with Allies and partners throughout the region to increase strength through partnership. MRF-D 24.3’s participation in the exercise will include a warfighting exercise and a combined live-fire defense, where ADF, JGSDF, PNGDF, and U.S. service members will train alongside each other, working towards a shared goal.

“I love seeing the warfighters go out to the field for a few weeks of pain and suffering,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. William Frick, the operations chief for 2nd Bn., 5th Marines (Rein.), MRF-D 24.3. “It makes them better, tougher and they’re all around more prepared in the event we have to answer the call, and this displays to the world we don’t fight alone,” he continued.

The Marines and Sailors have spent the first months of the rotation training at Robertson Barracks and Mount Bundey Training Area, NT to prepare for Southern Jackaroo, MRF-D 24.3’s first large-scale warfighting exercise to participate in.

Exercise Southern Jackaroo also offers the opportunity to practice logistical movements of personnel and equipment. Over 400 Marines and Sailors were transported from the Northern Territory to Queensland to begin the exercise, and the large Townsville Field Training Area provides an ideal space to rehearse tactical logistics in a constrained environment.

“Conducting tactical logistics in support of troops will be challenging in the Townsville Field Training Area, and we are excited to take on those challenges and exploit opportunities of interoperability alongside our closest Allies,” said Capt. Pierre Sajous, the company commander of Combat Logistics Company A, Combat Logistics Battalion 5 (Rein.), MRF-D 24.3.

Marine Rotational Force – Darwin is a rotational deployment of U.S. Marines and Sailors to Australia's Northern Territory. Established in 2011, MRF-D strengthens the alliance between the United States and Australia while also enhancing regional security and stability. MRF-D works closely with the Australian Defence Force to conduct training, exercises, and engagements across the Indo-Pacific region.

For questions regarding this release, please contact the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin media team at