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Department of Defence: Australian Defence Force And US Marines Use Military Exercise To Help Indigenous Community

30 Aug 2017

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the United States (US) Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D), completed training on Friday 25 August 2017 as part of Exercise CROCODILE STRIKE, and utilised this exercise to assist the local Indigenous community at the remote South Goulburn Island, in the Arafura Sea off the coast of the Northern Territory.

Under the US Force Posture Initiatives, the training developed combined humanitarian assistance, disaster relief capability, and enhance interoperability between Australia and the US. This exercise also provided an opportunity for the ADF and the US Marines to give back to the community.

The Warruwi Indigenous Community, located in South Goulburn Island approx 300km east of Darwin, provided access for this part of the exercise to be carried out. In return, the ADF and US Marines repaired and replaced some facilities and infrastructure and provided some medical support. Captain Bryan Parker RAN, the Deputy Commander of Northern Command, extended his appreciation of the Warruwi Indigenous Community for being involved.

“We are very appreciative of the Warruwi Indigenous Community for allowing access to their island home to complete this component of the exercise. Conducting the best possible exercises helps us get the most out of the US Force Posture Initiatives. Importantly, exercises such as Crocodile Strike prepare the ADF and US Marines to respond together to crises, such as environmental and humanitarian disasters, which we know are a feature of our Indo-Pacific region,” said CAPT Parker.

Giving back to the community is front of mind for the US Marines while they are temporary guests in Darwin. They dedicate many personnel hours in volunteering in local communities in the Northern Territory. Through these volunteering opportunities at local schools and remote communities, the US Marines also gain a better understanding of the Australian culture in the Top End.

“It was great seeing the US Marines engaging with local community members and expanding their understanding of Australia’s Indigenous culture. The Warruwi Community made us feel very welcome,” said CAPT Parker.

Annual rotations of US Marines through Darwin under the US Force Posture Initiatives commenced in 2012. The Initiatives aim to improve stability and security in the Indo-Pacific region, increase Australian and US military interoperability and improve preparedness to respond to crises. The Initiatives provide many opportunities for the US Marines and the ADF to conduct training and exercises bilaterally and with other regional nations.

“Australia and the US are committed to providing opportunities to help local communities. Exercising in remote islands, with limited infrastructure and language barriers benefits us greatly as these environments help us to prepare for the types scenarios we may face in the region.”

While the US Marines may be just temporary guests, Lieutenant Colonel Brian Middleton, Commander of 2017 Marine Rotational Force-Darwin says the positive engagement with the community makes Darwin feel like home for many of Marines.

“Marines compete to deploy to Australia, not only for the world-class training, but also the camaraderie of our ADF counterparts and local community members. I know the Commander of the 2018 rotation is looking forward to getting down here!” said Lieutenant Colonel Middleton.

The 2017 Marine rotation will conclude in October, but planning is already underway for next year’s rotation, scheduled to commence around March/April 2018.

Further information on the US Force Posture Initiative can be found on the website: http://www.defence.gov.au/Initiatives/USFPI/Default.asp 

Video of Exercise Crocodile, including interviews with members of Marine Rotational Force, Darwin and ADF can be found at https://dvidshub.net/r/ugnukm 

Still images from Exercise Crocodile Strike can be found at https://dvidshub.net/r/uzt3k4

Find out more

Visit the Department of Defence website to view the original media release.

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