Marines arrive Down Under to train with Australian counterparts

Marine Rotational Force Darwin
Story by Cpl. Reba James

Date: 04.15.2015
Posted: 04.15.2015 08:09
News ID: 160010
More Marines arrive to assist troops in Australia

ROYAL AUSTRALIAN AIR FORCE BASE DARWIN, DARWIN, Australia - Marines 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, stationed out of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, arrived April 12 at the Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, Darwin Australia. The Marines arrived to begin the fourth evolution of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin 2015.

MRF-D is the deployment of U.S. Marines to Darwin and the Northern Territory, for approximately six months at a time, where they will conduct exercises and training on a rotational basis with the Australian Defence Force.

The fourth rotation of MRF-D will showcase and exercise the combined interoperability of a battalion sized Marine Air - Ground Task Force while operating with the ADF.

"Today shows that within 26 to 27 hours, we were able to deploy a company of Marines with all of its weapons globally, so it validates the Marine Corps doctrine," said 1st Lt. Duane Blank, executive officer, Company B, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, MRF-D.

Along with the battalion that arrived in support of the MRF-D, two CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463, Marine Aircraft Group 24, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, arrived on a C-5 Galaxy aircraft.

While in the Northern Territory, the Marines will maintain combat readiness while conducting bilateral training with the ADF on ranges and training areas in the region.

"We're going to be training with the Australians and learning how they conduct their training," said Cpl. Cody Blake Cockrell, a squad leader, Company A, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, MRF-D. "It's going to be awesome and it's going to be a good time."

While training, Marines will maintain hospitality with the host nation by participating in local community engagements.

Marines will volunteer with local schools and participate in regional holiday parades and celebrations, one of which is Australian and New Zealand Army Corps Day.

ANZAC Day is a holiday on April 25, marking the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. The holiday is commemorated throughout the country of Australia.

As Marines take part in MRF-D and build relationships with the ADF for future rotations, they have been using this deployment to learn something new everyday from their Australian counterparts.

"We are here to train in Darwin, just like the rest of the battalion to integrate with the (Australians)," said Blank, a native of White Castle, Louisiana. "The Marines (with 1st Battalion, 4th Marines) are looking forward to doing something different. They're out of America training and are here to see how a different country does the same business that we do, because the main purpose is international training."