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US Marines arrive in Australia under heavy pandemic regulations

US Marines in Australia
US Marines of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin arrive at RAAF Base Darwin, NT. Photo: Australian defense department

The first group of around 200 US Marines have arrived at RAAF Base Darwin as part of the ninth Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D).

A total of about 1,200 Marines are scheduled to arrive in Australia during the next four months, after their arrival was postponed in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

All Marines will be quarantined for 14 days at Defence facilities in the Darwin area, following biosecurity screening and COVID-19 testing on arrival. They will be tested again before exiting quarantine.

Australian defense minister Linda Reynolds said the arrival of the first group was the result of extensive planning and coordination between both nations to address challenges posed by COVID-19.

“MRF-D is an important initiative that deepens interoperability between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the US military,” Minister Reynolds said.

“Australia’s alliance with the United States is our most important Defence relationship. It sends a clear signal about our commitment to the security and stability of our region.

The US Marines will train with ADF personnel at various defense training facilities around the greater Darwin area, including Mount Bundey and Kangaroo Flats.

The rotational force is expected to stay in Australia through to September.

The rotation will finish with the signature MRF-D/ADF bilateral high-end warfighting activity, exercise Koolendong. The marines will then redeploy back to Japan and the United States.