QUEENSLAND, Australia --
Marines and Sailors from Marine Rotational Force - Darwin participated in Exercise Southern Jackaroo 23, a joint military exercise conducted by the Australian Defence Force, Japanese Ground Self Defense Force, and the United States Marine Corps. Hosted at the Townsville Field Training Area in Queensland, the exercise focused on improving warfighting tactics at the small-unit level, leading to increases in efficiencies and interoperability between forces.
“This series of warfighting exercises enables the Army to integrate our allies and Pacific family into our combined arms organization,” said Brigadier Michael Say, Commander 7th Brigade. “It demonstrates that we are committed to assisting our partners not only through disaster relief, but into our security response planning as well.”
The five-week exercise tested various capabilities, such as artillery support by fire, urban operations, and ground assaults supported by aviation with a gradual crescendo in operational speed and complexity. Regional Indo-Pacific allies and partners used the opportunity to hone their skills, share best practices, and build relationships, resulting in a shared victory of increased readiness and expertise to respond to a real-world crisis and contingency.
“It is really important for the Marines and Australian Army to work together at every available opportunity. Our history has shown that we have worked together across the globe in peace time and in war time." Maj. Maddison Cellon, Officer in Charge of 2nd combat engineer squadron, 2nd combat engineer regiment, 7th brigade
“In order for our company to face off against a brigade-sized element of ADF and JGSDF soldiers, we chose to disseminate into very small units,” explained Staff Sgt. Ian Valore, Platoon Sergeant, 1st Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “Team leaders were able to operate independently, empowering creativity in how they executed their ambushes, patrols, and small-unit tactics against a much larger force.”
With more than 2,800 participants, the large-scale combat operations training featured archipelagic, littoral, and urban terrain that tested the forces’ offensive and defensive capabilities in a communications-degraded environment, stressing small-unit leadership at the lowest levels.
“Small unit leadership is absolutely critical when covering this much ground. We sacrificed traditional levels of situation awareness—in this case deliberately—in order to maintain cover and concealment for a longer period of time,” said 1st Lt. Joshua Watson, Executive Officer, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “The future rifle squad demands longer periods of self-sustainability and contact with higher headquarters. Our squads are purpose built for this environment, practicing signature management, low emissions, and moving at night to remain undetected.”
Southern Jackaroo serves as a critical component of the military readiness and cooperation between Australia, Japan, and the United States. Each nations’ military forces have become more lethal by fostering the ability to shoot, move, and communicate from a combined forces approach. The shared understanding of military tactics, techniques, and procedures ensures rapid response in times of crisis, a direct investment towards regional peace and stability
“It is really important for the Marines and Australian Army to work together at every available opportunity. Our history has shown that we have worked together across the globe in peace time and in war time,” said Maj. Maddison Cellon, Officer in Charge of 2nd combat engineer squadron, 2nd combat engineer regiment, 7th brigade. “The unknown challenges of the future will see us work together again.”