Closing ceremony for Southern Jackaroo
Closing ceremony for Southern Jackaroo

US Australian and Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo

In the heart of the Australian Outback, U.S. Marines, Australian Army soldiers, and Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldiers assembled and successfully conducted Exercise Southern Jackaroo. The trilateral exercise, held over a two-week period, was a tangible demonstration of multinational interoperability, where the forces worked through logistical and cultural challenges that tested the ability of each of the militaries to mutually support one another.

US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
U.S. Marine Corps Col. David Banning, commanding officer, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, looks out the side of a UH-1Y Venom while another UH-1Y Venom is flying nearby with passenger Australian Chief of the Defence Force Gen. Angus Campbell, as they return to Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin after their visit to Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, Australia, June 17, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Master Sgt. Sarah Nadeau)

The exercise began with an opening ceremony at Robertson Barracks, home of the Australian Army’s 1st Brigade, where commanders addressed a formation of Australian, Japanese, and U.S. troops. There, they spoke on themes of enhanced cooperation between each force and the importance of building deep, personal and professional relationships with one another. To overcome communication barriers, the force integrated teams of military interpreters throughout the formations in order to best facilitate understanding amongst each other.

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US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
Australian Army soldiers with the Australian Defence Force conduct door breaching techniques at the Urban Operations Training Facility during a visit from the Australian Chief of the Defence Force at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, Australia, June 17, 2021. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Master Sgt. Sarah Nadeau)

Training commenced with urban breaching operations at the Urban Operations Training Facility on Mount Bundey Training Area, where all three forces demonstrated to one another their tactics, techniques and procedures for maneuvering through urban terrain. Leaders frequently reviewed the patrols and breaches to learn from one another and, if required, integrate squads in future operations. Simultaneously, U.S. cannoneers from Mike Battery, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (Reinforced) and the Australian 103rd Battery, 8th/12th Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, established a combined gun line of six total M777 Howitzers, where they participated in fire missions together, directed by U.S. and Australian Fire Support Coordination Centers.

US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
A Japan Ground Self-Defense Force soldier observes impacts for his shooter during Exercise Southern Jackaroo at Mount Bundey Training Area, June 17, 2021. U.S. Marines, Australian Army and JGSDF soldiers conducted a live fire range exercising their combined long-range precision marksmanship capabilities.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Micha Pierce)

To conclude the first week of training, troops from all three militaries met at a combined marksmanship range, where snipers demonstrated advanced shooting techniques to engage targets at maximum effective range. Japan Ground Self-Defense Force Col. Kosyo Mizoguchi, commanding officer, 50th Infantry Regiment, commented on the unique opportunities training centers in the Outback had for the Japanese. The significance of the exercise was reinforced by the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Gen. Angus Campbell, who visited Exercise Southern Jackaroo in its first week.

US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
An Australian Army soldiers loads a Blaser Tactical 2 Sniper Rifle during Exercise Southern Jackaroo at Mount Bundey Training Area, June 17, 2021. Defense ties between the United States, allies, and partner nations are critical to regional security, cooperation, and integration of our combined capabilities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Micha Pierce)

In the second week of training, all three militaries came together in a culminating live fire event, where direct and indirect fire assets supported ground troops while assaulting multiple objectives. During the event, weapons teams fired 400 mortars, 250 rounds of artillery, and thousands of rounds of machine gun ammunition. Most notably, troops fired four FGM-148 Javelins—an anti-armor, man-portable, guided missile—at simulated enemy targets, as a powerful display of interoperability in support of maneuvering ground forces.

US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Maj. William Harrington, sergeant major, Sóchó Ichihara Shigeru, senior enlisted, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force; and WO1 Andrew Shore, regimental sergeant major, 1 BDE, Australian Army; stand together as senior enlisted members during the Chief of the Defence Force visit at Mount Bundey Training Area, NT, Australia, June 17, 2021.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Master Sgt. Sarah Nadeau)

During the assault, all three militaries seized objectives throughout Mount Bundey Training Area, enabling one another to move forward on their mission and demonstrate the ability to command and control fires and maneuver. Although a challenging feat, the training in the week prior allowed the forces from the three nations to confidently perform this complex event in concerted synchronization. After the final event, troops gathered for a closing ceremony, where soldiers and Marines from myriad different backgrounds said their goodbyes, and the three commanders expressed their gratitude for successfully executing such an intricate series of events.

US Australian Japanese Militaries Complete Exercise Southern Jackaroo
U.S. Marines with Weapons Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment (Reinforced), Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, carry a Javelin shoulder-fired anti-tank missile after firing it during a support to ground maneuvers range during exercise Southern Jackaroo at Mount Bundey Training Area, June 23, 2021.(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Micha Pierce)
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