Australian Army personnel and United States Marines from Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) have completed Exercise Koolendong, a high-end live-fire warfighting exercise in the Northern Territory.
Exercise Koolendong has enhanced the ability of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and MRF-D to work together to rapidly respond to crises and assist partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC observed the high-end bilateral training, during her week-long visit to the Northern Territory. Minister Reynolds was accompanied by the US Ambassador to Australia, Arthur Culvahouse for the visit.
Both agreed the exercise reflected the enduring partnership and interoperability that exists between Australia and the United States.
MRF-D Commanding Officer, Colonel David Banning said Koolendong was designed to build proficiency and interoperability between the Marines and the ADF to better respond to security challenges in the region.
“The exercise provided the long-anticipated opportunity for the US Marines, currently deployed to Darwin, to engage with our Australian counterparts and build upon the long history of military cooperation between our two nations,” Colonel Banning said.
Just over 1,000 US Marines from MRF-D partnered with approximately 400 Australian Army personnel from 1st Brigade and 1st Aviation Regiment, to conduct infantry manoeuvres supported by aviation, logistics and indirect fire support.
Commander Headquarters Northern Command, Group Captain Stewart Dowrie said this year was the most complex scenario ever attempted, with highly defined interoperability objectives and a deeper focus on exercise design.
“Koolendong had enhanced collective readiness and prepared the ADF and US Marines extremely well in the lead-up to the MRF-D 2021 rotation and next year’s Exercise Talisman Sabre,” Group Captain Dowrie said.
“It has been a real testament to the strength of the Australia-US Alliance that we have been able to undertake a modified MRF-D rotation and Exercise Koolendong, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic this year.”
The safe conduct of Exercise Koolendong reinforces the ADF’s ability to continue operating in a COVID-19 environment.
Exercise Koolendong was conducted at the Mount Bundey Training Area from 1 to 11 September 2020.