Photo Information

An Australian Army soldier wears the Exercise Kowari 2015 patch after the exercise’s closing ceremony Sept. 12 at Larrakeyah Barracks, Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia, Sept. 16, 2015. In its second iteration, Kowari 15 was a trilateral environmental survival training opportunity hosted by Australia and included forces from the U.S., Australia and China simultaneously.

Photo by 1st Lt. George McArthur

Exercise Kowari 2015 concludes in Darwin, Australia

16 Sep 2015 | 1st Lt. George McArthur The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

The trilateral survival training exercise Kowari 2015, hosted by the Australian Defence Force and involving U.S. Marine Corps and Army, Australian Army and People’s Liberation Army personnel formally concluded at a graduation and closing ceremony Sept. 12 at Larrakeyah Barracks, the Northern Territory, Australia.

“I would like to personally thank the participants for their extraordinary efforts and congratulate you for your successful completion of Exercise Kowari 2015,” said Brig. Damian Cantwell, exercise commander and deputy commander of the 2nd Division, Australian Army. “I hope that each of you have enjoyed your experiences; I’m sure the new friendships, memories and understanding of each other’s cultures will stay with you for the remainder of your military careers."

In attendance to recognize the troops who finished the two-week challenge were U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Todd McCaffrey, chief of staff, U.S. Army Pacific, Australian Army Maj. Gen. Paul McLachlan, head of Land Systems and Defence Materiel Organisation, and People’s Liberation Army Maj. Gen. Han Peng, deputy chief of staff, Guangzhou Military Region. The distinguished visitors gave remarks to those involved in the exercise: five U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, five soldiers with the 25th Infantry Division, U.S. Army Pacific, 10 Australian soldiers and 10 Chinese soldiers, and more than 100 support and international liaison staff.

“Exercises such as this one are magnificent ways to build the personal relationships that promote cooperation between three leading nations in the global community,” explained McCaffrey. “Survivors of Exercise Kowari – and you truly are survivors – you have all done an outstanding job overcoming the challenges you have faced. You overcame the limitations of language differences, and you came together as a team to build shelter and find food to make sure that each of your teammates was able to survive in one of the harshest environment in the world. You can be confident that each of you have made your units and your nations proud.”

Kowari 15 was the second iteration of the exercise designed to bring together the combined and joint efforts of U.S., Australian and People’s Republic of China service members in the Outback of the Daly River region in the Northern Territory, Australia. The participants received training in environmental survival and put their newly-learned skills to the test in a culminating four-day survival exercise, split into three teams made up of U.S. Marines and the soldiers from each country.

“The aim of Kowari is for the Chinese, U.S. and Australian forces to come together in a demanding environment and develop trust, cooperation and friendship. Soldiers know better than most that understanding and trust is best developed through shared adversity,” said McLachlan. “This is the foundation for the armies of all of our nations to come together to be better friends and to work with each other for the benefit of our region; I hope that you will all remember this experience and Australia fondly.”

The participants received their training from the North-West Mobile Force, a regional force surveillance unit of the Australian Army, which is headquartered in Darwin and staffs the Australian Army’s experts in survival training. The instruction they provided in the Australian Outback offered a training opportunity unique in the Pacific that required teamwork and group solidarity for success.

“I would like to comment with an old Chinese saying… it is easy to break one stick, but hard to break 10 sticks together,” finished Peng. “We wouldn’t have had this success without the good cooperation and common efforts made by the 30 participants. Kowari lets us believe that our three nations, our will and our people can integrate well to handle any difficulties or challenges… congratulations to all of you, and I hope that Kowari can [continue to] achieve success and make our friendships last forever.”