JUNE 1, 2022 – Marine Rotational Force-Darwin participated in Exercise SOUTHERN JACKAROO 22, a tri-lateral infantry integration exercise featuring Marines and Sailors with MRF-D, Australian Defense Force members, and Japanese Ground Self Defense Force personnel from May 10 – May 31.
SOUTHERN JACKAROO 22 took place at the Shoalwater Bay Training Area in Queensland, and incorporated 400 Australian Soldiers, and nearly 100 Japanese Soldiers, along with a Marine Corps rifle company from 3rd Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment. The three allied forces combined to share tactics, techniques, and procedures while also enhancing interoperability capabilities. The exercise demonstrated how three of the Pacific’s premier partners can combine and form a unified and lethal combat team to ensure safety and security in the Indo-Pacific.
“Considering the current world situation, the trilateral exercise is very significant, and it is very useful for improving the capability of units and all soldiers,” JGSDF training commander Lieutenant Colonel Ryozo Asano said.
Led by the ADF’s 7th Brigade, SOUTHERN JACKAROO 22 implemented a crawl, walk, run concept of combat integration and interoperability. The partnered riflemen cycled through training lanes consisting of small arms close combat, patrolling, and mechanized maneuver, along with other training events to enhance the strengths of the three forces.
“Exercise SOUTHERN JACKAROO is a great example of how our regional partners integrate with Australian force elements to conduct realistic combat team training for combat operations,” Commander of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Michael Say said. “Our combined capability to coordinate ground force assets demonstrates adaptability and interoperability that can be applied to disaster relief or warfighting operations.” Brigadier General Michael Say, Commander of the 7th Brigade
The three-week exercise included a variety of live-fire and combined arms training. One initial training lane provided Australian, Japanese, and U.S. infantrymen the opportunity to clear buildings together in an urban environment. Another training lane allowed the three forces to utilize Australian M113 personnel carriers to close with and destroy simulated enemy targets quickly and under effective suppression.
“Our Marines and Sailors had a great experience at SOUTHERN JACKAROO training alongside our ADF and JGSDF teammates,” emphasized U.S. rifle company commander Captain Jack Morgan, the senior USMC exercise leader. “The tactics, techniques, and procedures we shared and practiced here demonstrate that this team is a force capable of working together across the spectrum of military operations.”
Sharing combat skills and combined arms expertise was only part of the overall exercise mission. Critical to SOUTHERN JACKAROO 22 was the introduction of new interoperability equipment and procedures designed facilitate collaboration between the tri-lateral team, over long distances. These procedures will prove critical when the three partners come together in future operations and exercises.
“One of the most challenging aspects of the Indo-Pacific theater is long range communications,” MRF-D communications officer Major Michael Trombitas noted. “We appreciate the opportunity we’ve had to further advance our communications capabilities alongside our partners.”
Another unique aspect of this year’s exercise was the addition of a long-range casualty evacuation from Shoalwater Bay to Darwin. MRF-D utilized an en-route care team aboard an MV-22 Osprey to transport and treat a simulated casualty following a force-on-force event. The Osprey maneuvered from the Queensland training area back to RAAF Base Darwin, utilizing aerial refuel and the critical care team from MRF-D’s Role II facility. The CASEVAC demonstration required coordination from every element of the MAGTF and highlighted the agility of the force.
SOUTHERN JACKAROO is just one of many exercises the Marine Corps integrates with the Japan Self-Defense Force. IRON FIST, NOBLE FUSION, and other combined and joint exercises further enhance the relationship between the Marine Corps and the JSDF, a union critical to maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Having spent some of my career in Okinawa, I will always cherish the relationship between the Marine Corps and the Japan Self-Defense Force,” said MRF-D fire support officer, Captain Mark Duran, who served as the lead U.S. planner for the exercise. “Working, learning, and training alongside both our Japanese and Australian allies was an honor.”
MRF-D takes great pride in combined training and integration, particularly with the allied forces of Australia and Japan. The U.S. National Security Advisor echoed the sentiment while speaking about the President’s recent trip to Japan, stating, “We believe that the U.S.-Japan alliance is at an all-time high.”
MRF-D recognizes the great importance of the Australian-Japanese-U.S. partnership, and looks forward to building it even stronger in the future.
For questions regarding this story, please contact the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin media inquiry email address at MRFDMedia@usmc.mil. Imagery from this rotation and previous can be found at dvidshub.net/unit/MRF-D.
By Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente and Capt. Joseph DiPietro
Marine Rotational Force – Darwin