The Darwin-bound US Marines arrive at Kadena Air Base in Japan. Picture: Harrison Rakhshani
The Darwin-bound US Marines arrive at Kadena Air Base in Japan. Picture: Harrison Rakhshani

COVID-19: Details of US Marines' Aus deployment revealed

MORE than 1000 US Marines are due to touch down in Darwin within days, with the Federal Government confirming details of the annual rotation to the Top End.

The 1200-strong contingent is half of the 2500 US Marines that were expected to attend the Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) exercise before the coronavirus pandemic.

The NT News can reveal they will disembark, in tranches, at RAAF Base Darwin in "early June" through to late July and will remain in the NT until September.

MRF-D was initially postponed due to the threat of coronavirus but was reinstated in early May after high-level conversations between the two allied nations.

Marines disembarking from a flight in Okinawa, Japan, where they will undergo 14 days of quarantine before making they make their way to Darwin. Picture: MRF-D, Twitter.
Marines disembarking from a flight in Okinawa, Japan, where they will undergo 14 days of quarantine before making they make their way to Darwin. Picture: MRF-D, Twitter.

 

Defence Minister Linda Reynolds confirmed the US Marines, some of whom have already touched down in Japan for a 14-day quarantine stint, will be screened for the virus four days before departing the Okinawa base.

Upon arrival in the Top End they will be screened again, then quarantined for 14 days in "specially prepared defence facilities in the Darwin area".

 

All US Marines will have their own rooms for the duration of their quarantine.

Each US Marine will then be retested once the quarantine period is over.

The troops will "exercise exclusively at defence training areas in the NT" until September. No training will occur in the identified biosecurity zones.

Marines disembarking from a flight in Okinawa, Japan, where they will undergo 14 days of quarantine before making they make their way to Darwin. Picture: MRF-D, Twitter.
Marines disembarking from a flight in Okinawa, Japan, where they will undergo 14 days of quarantine before making they make their way to Darwin. Picture: MRF-D, Twitter.

 

The number of ADF personnel taking part in MRF-D is still being finalised

All foreign soldiers will be based exclusively in Darwin unlike in 2019 when 200 US Marines involved in MRF-D were stationed out of Townsville's Lavarack Barracks.

"The Marines will achieve significant training outcomes with the Australian Defence Force while rigorously adhering to the restrictions in place to safely manage COVID-19 in the Territory," Senator Reynolds said.

Based on a KPMG report from 2019, this year's contingent could pump as much money into the economy as the 1250-strong contingent did in 2016. During that year the US Marines were worth $7.5 million to the NT.

Originally published as US Marines' Darwin deployment COVID-19 safety details revealed


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