Marine Rotational Force – Darwin arrives

Military activity in the Territory is set to soar, with more than one thousand Marines arriving in the Top End for the 13th rotation of Marine Rotational Force - Darwin.

On Friday, Marines got a taste for the Top End’s conditions as they stepped onto the airstrip tarmac.

The new rotation’s Commanding Officer Colonel Brian Mulvihill said his troops were “excited” to get started.

ADF Commanding Officer Headquarters Northern Command, Captain Mitchell Livingstone, said the next eight months would involve high-end training.

“I’m pleased to welcome the 13th iteration of MRF-D to the Top End,” he said.

“These rotations not only help build interoperability between the ADF and the US, but also serve to increase regional cooperation with partner nations in the Indo-Pacific.

“Over the next eight months, the ADF and USMC will conduct a comprehensive range of training activities, including humanitarian assistance, security operations, and live-fire exercises, all of which better prepare our forces to respond effectively to contingencies that may arise.”

Marines back in Australia during six months of training across South Pacific

U.S. Marines have returned to northern Australia as part of a six-month training tour across the South Pacific that will also include drills in the Philippines and Indonesia.

They’ll be supported by Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 268 out of Hawaii flying MV-22 B Osprey aircraft.

Ospreys began flying again this month after being grounded following the Nov. 29 crash of an Air Force Osprey off the coast of Japan that killed eight airmen. An Osprey crash in Australia in August killed three Marines attached to Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 363 during last year’s rotation to the Northern Territory.

In Australia, the Marines will join numerous training events, including Southern Jackaroo, which typically involves Japanese troops; Bhakti Kanyini AUSINDO, which involved Indonesian forces last year; and the aviation-focused Pitch Black, Diamond Storm and HELICON LUK.

United States commits to spend hundreds of millions more on NT Defence assets

On top of the A$429m committed for 2024, the United States’s total expenditure in the Northern Territory since President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Darwin in 2011 has passed the billon-dollar mark.

This includes the East Arm refuelling tank farm which will come in at about $200m when completed and the Marine Rotational Force which is based at Robertson Barracks during the Dry.

On top of its previous spending, the US has budgeted A$192.4m for new parking aprons at RAAF Base Darwin.

It’s understood the new aprons will be used by the US Navy for marine aircraft.



In addition, the USA Airforce has allocated about A$229m upgrading facilities at both RAAF Darwin and Tindal.

American Marine arrested over alleged assault and rape in Palmerston

An American Marine has been arrested and charged after allegedly raping a woman in Palmerston, near Darwin in the Northern Territory.

A US Defence Force spokesman confirmed a 20-year-old Marine was arrested by NT Police and charged with aggravated assault and sexual intercourse without consent.

A NT Police spokeswoman said the 20-year-old’s arrest on Monday, September 18, was in relation to an alleged incident in Palmerston that same day.


It is understood that all Marines at the Robertson Barracks are unable to leave or allow visitors on base, with the US Defence Force spokesman saying there was a “restricted liberty status” at the base.

American military becomes lead agency in Tiwi Islands Osprey crash investigation

The American military has taken over an investigation into the death of three Marines during a training exercise on a remote island off the Northern Territory.

NT Police were leading the response after a horror military aircraft crash on the Tiwi Islands on Sunday August 27.

There were 23 troops on board the tilt-rotor military aircraft when it went down, with the two pilots and crew chief understood to have sacrificed their lives to avert a catastrophic crash killing all on-board.

Under the Commonwealth Defence Visiting Forces Act, the Territory coroner was barred from holding an inquest into the three marines’ deaths with the initial reports passed onto the American authorities.