The arrival of the United States Marines for the 12th iteration of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) marks a significant event for the Australia-U.S. Alliance. The annual rotation of a combat credible Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to Darwin, Australia, is designed to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two nations’ armed forces, providing valuable training opportunities with Allies and partners in the Indo-Pacific region. Components of the MAGTF include a Command Element, Logistics Combat Element, Ground Combat Element, and Aviation Combat Element. This year’s rotation is led by Colonel Brendan Sullivan, commanding officer of MRF-D 23. The Command Element is made up of Marines and Sailors from 1st Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, from Camp Pendleton, California, and is reinforced (REIN) by a detachment from Marine Air Control Group – 38, from Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California.
“We are honored to extend the legacy of the Australia-U.S. Alliance, working side-by-side with our Australian Defence Force Allies to provide a ready force for contingency and crisis response in the region. Our team is postured and ready to advance shared goals, demonstrate the strength and endurance of our Alliance, and contribute to regional security and partnerships. As the first major exercise of this year’s rotation, Crocodile Response 23 is our opportunity to demonstrate combined capabilities in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief throughout the region. We are looking forward to our time in Indonesia for the academics phase, which will prepare us in applying our shared knowledge during the scenario development and field training portion of the exercise. Side-by-side with our Allies in the Australian Defence Force, we are demonstrating readiness to respond to crisis and contingency throughout the region as a team, providing tangible examples of strength through partnership,” said Col. Sullivan, commanding officer of MRF-D 23.
The Ground Combat Element, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment (REIN), and Logistics Combat Element, Combat Logistics Battalion 1 (REIN), are also based in Camp Pendleton, California. Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 (REIN), the Air Combat Element, out of Marine Corps Base Hawaii, completed the structure of the MAGTF with the arrival of 10 MV-22B Ospreys. Exercise Crocodile Response 23 is the first of many exercises and training events scheduled for the rotation. The trilateral exercise with the Australian Defence Force and Indonesian National Armed Forces (TNI) is composed of three distinct phases, taking place in both Indonesia and Australia. The 12th iteration of MRF-D provides an opportunity for the Marines to train with the Australian Defence Force, participate in combined military exercises, and engage with local communities. The enduring relationship between the two military forces, enhances the capacity to work together in times of crisis and highlights U.S. commitment to the Indo-Pacific region.