YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The first of almost 1,200 U.S. Marines will arrive in northern Australia within days to start a six month training rotation, the Australian Ministry of Defence has announced.
The Marines are part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that includes 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., Marine Corps spokeswoman 1st Lt. Savannah Moyer said Saturday.
“We are excited to train with the Australian army and maximize interoperability of the U.S. and Australian militaries,” Moyer said.
The Marines, who have been building their presence in Australia’s Northern Territory since 2012, sent 200 to 250 personnel Down Under for six months last summer as part of Marine Rotational Force–Darwin (MRF-Darwin).
Plans call for 2,500-strong MAGTF to travel to Darwin on six-month rotations each year starting in 2016.
The 1-5 Marines, commanded by Lt. Col. Kevin Matthews, will live and train at Australian Defence Force facilities in the Northern Territory for the next six months, Moyer said.
They will work with aircraft from Helicopter Squadron 463 and support from Combat Logistics Regiment 3 out of Hawaii, she said.
“A continuing priority for the Marines will be to further develop a close and enduring relationship with the local Darwin community which provides mutual benefit,” Australian Defence officials said in a news release.