More than 1000 US Marines headed to Darwin
More Marines than ever before are headed to Darwin for their fourth annual rotation of bilateral exercises.
This year's rotation of about 1150 Marines is part of the continuing US Force Posture initiative that will eventually result in the deployment of a 2500-strong Marine Air Ground Task Force in Darwin.
"This is now the fourth rotation of Marines to Northern Australia and we continue to build greater understanding and co-operation between our two forces with each new rotation," said Commander of Northern Command, Commodore Brenton Smyth in a statement on Wednesday.
After two six-month deployments of a 200-person Marine force in 2012 and 2013, last year marked the first significant leap in numbers to 1100.
Most of the Marines will come from the 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment from Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in California, and will be housed at Robertson Barracks on Darwin's outskirts.
Four CH-53E helicopters will be brought in from the Hawaiian base for the six-month rotation.
The Marines will train bilaterally with the Australian Defence Force, as well as conducting their own training at ADF facilities across the NT.
"In addition to the military training, the Marines have enthusiastically participated in school visitation programs and local community sporting activities, which will continue with this current rotation," Commander Smyth said.
"This initiative strengthens an already robust partnership and will continue to promote stability and peace in the region."