US Marine part of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin tests positive to COVID-19

A US Marine who arrived in the Territory as part of the first tranche of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin has tested positive for coronavirus.

The 21-year-old man, who arrived on an international flight to the Northern Territory on Thursday, February 11, tested positive to COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

The man is asymptomatic and has been moved from quarantine to Royal Darwin Hospital, in line with established procedures.

The Department of Chief Minister and Cabinet said that “due to strict quarantine measures in place for all arriving Marines”, the case was “promptly detected” and the Marine “had no direct contact with the general community”.

Since the pandemic began, there have been 104 cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the NT, including 65 from international repatriation flights.

US marine quarantining in Darwin tests positive for COVID-19

A 21-year-old member of the US Marine Corps is taken to hospital after returning a positive coronavirus test. It comes ahead of a military training exercise that will see thousands of military personnel rotate through Darwin by June.

Health authorities say the man was among the first group of about 200 marines to arrive, with soldiers touching down in Darwin on Thursday before entering quarantine at RAAF Base Darwin.

He is asymptomatic but will remain at the Royal Darwin Hospital until he recovers.

While the first two groups of marines will undertake their fortnight of quarantine in accommodation on Defence bases, further groups will be taken to Bladin Village, a privately owned former detention centre outside of Darwin.

US stages drill with allies as it seeks to counter Chinese missile threat

Drills will include air combat exercises designed to improve ability to use smaller airfields in case its main bases come under attack.

The joint exercise at the Andersen Air Force Base, known as Cope North 2021, started on Wednesday and will run until February 19 and will see the base hosting F-35A joint strike fighters for the first time.
The exercise kicks off with an exercise designed to improve the three countries’ ability to carry out humanitarian operations in response to a natural disaster in the region, according to a statement from the US air force in the Pacific.
It also includes air combat drills designed to improve their flexibility and common communications ability.

one commander had said that one aim was to improve the forces’ ability to operate from small, rough airfields with limited facilities – also known as austere airfields– a move analysts said was designed to make it harder to “wipe out” US air power with missile attacks on major bases.

Marines Considering 3 Littoral Regiments for the Indo-Pacific

As the Marine Corps reorganizes to prepare for a potential conflict with China, the service is considering three new Marine Littoral Regiments for its campaign of land warfare in the Indo-Pacific.
The service is shedding its heavier equipment so it can operate between expeditionary bases on islands in the Pacific to support the fleet. Part of the force design initiative is standing up a new unit, known as a Marine Littoral Regiment, which will likely have 1,800 to 2,000 sailors and Marines. The unit will feature a Littoral Combat Team, a Littoral Anti-Air Battalion and a Littoral Logistics Battalion.

Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, recently said the service plans to have the first regiment, which will be based in Hawaii, reach initial operational capability in Fiscal Year 2023.

“There has been discussion of creating as many as three in the Pacific between now and 2030 and they would be forward-based in the Pacific, although they might – depending on the experimentation that we do – they might be rotational in terms of how we source some of the people that man these Marine Littoral Regiments,” Watson said last week at the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual expeditionary warfare conference.

“And then based on their – where they’re home-based in the Pacific, elements would rotate on a regular basis further west,” he continued. “So working with allies and partners so that we persistently have a presence from each of the Marine Littoral Regiments out there in the western Pacific.”

The Marine Corps is slated to stand up the first MLR in FY 2022

US strike force of more than 2200 Marines to arrive in Darwin within days

THE deployment of 2200 US Marines to Darwin is about to begin, with the first due to arrive within days.

This is 1000 more than last year’s force and just 300 less than the full compliment of 2500 in 2019.

Special COVID-19 plans, which include housing the US Marines at a “secure facility outside Darwin” for 14 days, have been drawn up for what will be the tenth Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D). The new head of Northern Command in Darwin, Colonel Marcus Constable, said the secure facility is not the Howard Springs quarantine facility.

“NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner and I have discussed the extensive arrangements that have been put in place to manage the risk of COVID-19,” Senator Reynolds said. “... I thank the NT government for their continued support.”