CAMP H.M. SMITH, Hawaii - U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific has announced the deployment of approximately 1,150 California- and Hawaii-based Marines to Northern Territory, Australia, as part of the second phase of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin.
Most of the Marines will come from 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, stationed at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and are expected to arrive in Australia in early April. The force will consist of about 1,000 Marines and will be hosted by the Australian Defence Force at Robertson Barracks.
New to this rotation, an Aviation Combat Element (ACE) deployed from Marine Corps Base Hawaii. The service members are scheduled to arrive March 23-25, and will be hosted at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin. The ACE consists of approximately 100 service members and four CH-53E Super Stallion helicopters from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 (HMH-463) and Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 24 (MALS-24).
President Barack Obama and former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced the rotational deployments of U.S. Marines to Darwin and Northern Australia in November 2011. Hawaii-based Marines supported the first two deployments in 2012 and 2013.
"These deployments are a tangible demonstration of the United States' sustained commitment to the U.S.-Australia alliance and to the Asia-Pacific region," said Col. Brad Bartelt, a spokesman for MarForPac. "They enhance security cooperation, disaster response capabilities, interoperability and enable us to train with our partners to develop and maintain our readiness."
In addition to improving mutual defense capabilities with Australian allies, the MRF-D Marines may also deploy to other countries to participate in multinational security cooperation activities, Bartelt said.