Marine Rotational Force – Darwin

Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) is part of the United States Force Posture Initiatives (USFPI) and the growing relationship between the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

MRF-D is a continuation of a relationship that has existed since the MRF-D’s parent unit, the 1st Marine Division, trained in Melbourne following the Guadalcanal campaign in WW2 leading to the Marines adopting “Waltzing Matilda” as their battle hymn.

United States (US) Marines and their equipment rotate through Northern Australia, undertaking a range of joint exercises and training with the ADF and regional partners such as Indonesia, Philippines, Timor-Leste, Malaysia and Japan.

MRF-D is developing Defence's capability to respond to crises, engage with international partners, and enhance interoperability with the ADF, other government agencies and regional partners. Members of MRF-D engage widely with local communities during rotations by volunteering at schools and with Indigenous communities.

Each year the exercises and training included in MRF-D change to align with:

  • changes in the environment
  • advances in technology
  • lessons learnt from previous activities
  • evolving international landscape.


MRF-D conduct a range of exercises annually to achieve shared objectives. The program varies yearly. The most frequently held exercises include:

  • Exercise Crocodile Response is a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercise. Partnered with the Department of Foreign Affairs, US Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance, and the Indonesian National Agency for Disaster Countermeasure. The exercise aims to increase the readiness of Australia, Indonesia and the US to conduct foreign humanitarian assistance operations in the event of a natural disaster.
  • Exercise Southern Jackaroo is an Australian Army led 2-week trilateral ground exercise involving participants from Japan and the US. The annual activity reinforces the cooperation between the partner forces across a range of military disciplines.
  • Exercise Talisman Sabre is the principal Australia-US bilateral military training activity. It is conducted biennially and focuses on mid-intensity, high-end warfighting. The exercise targets planning and conducting combined and joint task force operations in order to improve combat readiness and interoperability.
  • Exercise Hari’I Hamutuk is an annual Australian Army led, MRF-D supported activity conducted in Timor-Leste to help build the engineering capability of our Timor-Leste partners.