News: Fighting Fifth Marines bid farewell to families, opens door for new chapter in Pacific
Story by Cpl. Corey Dabney
CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. - As the sun shone overhead on a beautiful Tuesday morning, tears ran down the cheeks of friends and family members on the Camp San Mateo Parade Field aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. For many of the families this is the first time they will be separated from their loved ones as the Marines and Sailors of 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment deploy in support of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin to Australia.
While waiting for her son to receive his weapon, Rebecca Delgadillo said it is painful knowing she will not see her son for the next six months, but she is grateful he will get to see another side of the world.
With deployments to Afghanistan dwindling down, the Marine Corps is shifting its attention to the Pacific.
The “Fighting Fifth” is sending approximately 1,100 Marines to Darwin, Australia. It will be the first time Calif.,- based Marines are deploying in support of MRF-Darwin. This also marks the first time a full battalion will deploy to Darwin.
This will allow the Marine Corps to be even more expedient in its responses to crises worldwide while building relations with Australian Forces.
The purpose of their mission is two-fold, said Lt. Col Keven Matthews, the commanding officer of 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, The battalion will be increasing depth with allied Australian force and also building greater interoperability with the Australian army.
Matthews, a 47-year-old native of Honolulu, added that this will give the U.S. a more advantageous position in the Pacific.
The battalion will also emphasize readiness and military diplomacy while deployed, said Matthews.
“We want to be able to respond to any type of crisis in the Pacific, but we also want to show that we are good guests on the Australian base,” said Matthews. “We have been allies with the Australian Defense Force since post 9/11 and we want to continue building those relations in a positive way with the Australians.”
The Marines of the battalion will also be focusing on exchanging knowledge and tactics with the fellow warriors while in Australia.
The battalion currently has numerous training events scheduled where the Marines will be working side-by-side with the Australian soldiers, Matthews said. He believes the Marines will be able to teach and learn a great deal from the Australian forces because both sides have service members who have combat experiences they can share with one another.
“I can tell the Marines are very excited because they are deploying to Australia,” said Matthews. “Their morale is high and they anxiously wait for the opportunity to work alongside our Australian counterparts.”
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