The 2021 Marine Rotational Force — Darwin has departed from the Northern Territory, bringing to a close the 10th rotation of U.S. Marines through Australia’s Top End.
This year’s rotation coincided with the 70th anniversary of the Australia, New Zealand, and United States (ANZUS) treaty and was made special by visits from the Prime Minister, Chief of the Defence Force, and U.S. Consul General.
The history of the Australia-U.S. relationship is one that predates World War I, tracing back to the days of the Great White Fleet in 1908, a deployment of the U.S. Atlantic Fleet to the Pacific.
“Our Alliance with the United States is our most important defense relationship,” said Australian Army Colonel Marcus Constable, commander of Headquarters Northern Command.
“The Alliance is the cornerstone of Australian security and together we are committed to ensuring a secure, inclusive, and resilient Indo-Pacific. MRF-D is a reflection of the close cooperation between the ADF, United States Marine Corps, and the Northern Territory Government.”
This year, approximately 2,200 U.S. Marines & Sailors conducted a comprehensive range of training activities, including humanitarian assistance, security operations, and high-end, live-fire exercises.
Combined exercises such as Crocodile Response, Southern Jackaroo, Loobye, and Koolendong demonstrated military interoperability between the U.S. Marine Corps and ADF, as well as with regional partners.
The focus remains on strengthening bilateral military capabilities and preparing for crisis and contingency response to help maintain stability and security in the region.
“MRF-D is a highly capable force, prepared to operate with our Australian partners,” noted U.S. Marine Col. David Banning, MRF-D commanding officer.
“Being able to continue MRF-D rotations while making the necessary adjustments to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic is a testament to the alliance relationship and the discipline of our forces.”
The Marines will return to the Northern Territory in 2022, as part of the 25-year commitment established by the U.S Force Posture Initiatives.
“We look forward to next year’s MRF-D rotation, and the opportunity to continue to deepen our ties with our Australian partners and engage with regional partners in the Indo-Pacific,” said Col. Banning.
MRF-D is one of two of the United States Force Posture Initiatives alongside an expanded program of Enhanced Air Cooperation between the Royal Australian Air Force and U.S. Air Force. These initiatives are tangible demonstrations of the strength of the Australia-US Alliance and our deep engagement within the Indo-Pacific region.