More Marines head to Australia’s east coast ahead of multinational live-fire exercise

More Marines head to Australia’s east coast ahead of multinational live-fire exercise


U.S. Marines and Australian troops plan a move during Exercise Southern Jackaroo, at the Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland, Australia, May 25, 2024.

U.S. Marines and Australian troops plan a move during Exercise Southern Jackaroo at the Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland, Australia, May 25, 2024. (Eric Burton/U.S. Marine Corps)


U.S. Marines are deploying for military exercises aboard Australia’s largest warship, and Australian sailors are supporting the crew of a Navy submarine tender that recently arrived in Australia.

The Adelaide was setting sail from the northern port city of Darwin on Thursday with 50 Marines on board, part of a contingent of 2,000 Marines who arrived in the Northern Territory in late March for a six-month rotation.

The helicopter carrier will transport the Marines to Townsville on the Queensland coast where they will join 400 other Marines taking part in the annual Exercise Southern Jackaroo.

Jackaroo – an Australian slang term for young men who work on farms to gain experience – begins on March 20 and runs until June 10, with about 2,300 soldiers from Australia, the United States, Japan and Papua New Guinea taking part.

“Many lessons were learned from this exercise and we are better prepared to respond jointly to incidents in the region if necessary,” Australian Army Brigadier Dave McCammon, commander of Townsville-based 3 Brigade, said in a statement on Friday.

Maj. Neil Jones, Marine Rotational Force, Darwin’s executive officer for ground combat, said the 400 Marines already in Townsville arrived by plane, while contractors transported tactical vehicles more than 1,500 miles by road.

The Marines are with 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Camp Pendleton, California, he told Stars and Stripes by phone Thursday from the Townsville Field Training Area. Their areas of expertise include infantry, combat logistics, mortar, anti-armor, medical and engineering.

“It’s still early days of the rotation,” he said. “We’re just getting them ready by coming out here and doing field training.”

Mr Jones said the Southern Jackaroos’ combat training will involve battling opponents played by Australian soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. Next week will see live-fire training with missiles, rockets, mortars, machine guns and rifles.

“The best part was the Marines got to see a different part of Australia and work with another Australian unit,” he said.

Meanwhile, the submarine tender USS Emory S. Land is in Darwin to host community and cultural events on land.

The submarine tender Emory S. Land prepares to arrive at Naval Station Coonawarra in Darwin, Australia, on May 28, 2024.

The submarine tender USS Emory S. Land prepares to enter naval station HMAS Coonawarra in Darwin, Australia, May 28, 2024. (Reyes Villatoro/U.S. Navy)

Australian sailors have been supporting the ship’s crew, which has been based in Guam since January, the Australian Department of Defence said in a statement Thursday.

Australia is preparing to operate its own nuclear submarines, leveraging technology shared with the United States and Britain under the AUKUS alliance.

“More than 30 Royal Australian Navy personnel have been in Guam for the past five months alongside our U.S. Navy partners, learning the ropes of nuclear submarine tender maintenance,” Royal Australian Navy Vice Admiral Mark Hammond said in a statement.

“This unique program will develop a workforce skilled in operating, maintaining and managing conventionally armed nuclear submarines and will make a significant contribution to the future of the Navy,” he said.



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