The first group of around 200 US Marines have arrived at RAAF Base Darwin as part of the ninth Marine Rotational Force â€“ Darwin (MRF-D). Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said their arrival was the result of extensive planning and coordination between both nations to address challenges posed by COVID-19. All Marines will be quarantined for 14 days at Defence facilities in the Darwin area, following biosecurity screening and COVID-19 testing on arrival. The Marines will be tested again for COVID-19 before exiting quarantine.
“MRF-D is an important initiative that deepens interoperability between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the US military. Australia’s Alliance with the United States is our most important Defence relationship. It sends a clear signal about our commitment to the security and stability of our region. The fact that we were able to modify MRF-D and mitigate risks associated with COVID-19 to allow it to proceed is a strong testament of the resilience of our Alliance.” Minister Reynolds said.
These arrangements have been established after close consultation with the Northern Territory Government. The US Marines will train with ADF personnel at various Defence training facilities around the greater Darwin area, including Mount Bundey and Kangaroo Flats. MRF-D will grow to 1200 personnel over the next eight weeks, and will train through to September. The rotation will finish with the signature MRF-D/ADF bilateral high-end warfighting activity, Exercise Koolendong. The Marines will then redeploy back to Japan and the United States.