TOWNSVILLE FIELD TRAINING AREA, QUEENSLAND, Australia -- U.S. Marines with Company C, 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, commenced Exercise Southern Jackaroo alongside Australian soldiers with Company A, 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, Australian Army, Australian Defence Force, May 3 at Townsville Field Training Area, Queensland, Australia.
“Back in March, before coming out here, [Company C’s] Weapons platoon won a squad competition comprised of a lot of mental and physical evaluations that proved to be very challenging,” said 1st Lt. Luke Carter, executive officer of Co. C. “The reward for winning allowed the platoon an opportunity to come out here to Townsville for exercise Southern Jackaroo 15.”
Since they were selected, the Marines with weapons platoon have been conducting operations, rehearsals and attending classes on Australian Defence Force field craft to ensure they are prepared to perform to their full potential during the exercise.
“I’m looking forward to the lessons that we will learn from the Australian soldiers,” said Carter. “They’re a very professional fighting force and I think the Marines can learn a lot by working directly with them and applying what they’ve learned beforehand.”
Training with the Australians is important because it improves the Marines ability to operate with their partners. They get to integrate with their counterparts and work with them on a more personal level especially since being embedded with them.
“It’s a great opportunity to be out here because we get to experience more training in a different type of environment than Darwin,” said Cpl. Cody McConnell, a squad leader with weapons platoon. “It’s cool training with the Australians in their own environment because they’re masters of field craft and they can teach us what they know.”
In the past, Marines conducted plenty of operations with Australian soldiers so the more they get to train with them, the more they can practice their interoperability and grow their relationship, according to Carter.
The rotational deployment of U.S. Marines in Australia affords an unprecedented combined training opportunity with their Australian allies and improves interoperability between the two forces.