Marine RF-D Trains In Every Clime, Place
by U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente
September 12, 2022
Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) 22 participated in Australian led courses during 2022 that will enhance their ability to conduct operations in every clime and place.
August 20, 2022 - U.S. Marines from Marine Rotational Force–Darwin 22 dismount from an Australian light-armoured vehicle ASLAV during integration training with Australian Army soldiers from the 2nd/14th Light Horse Regiment (Queensland Mounted Infantry) during the Operational Regional War Fighter at Jungle Training Wing, Tully, Queensland. Operation Regional War Fighter supports the Australian Army’s recent focus on enhancing capabilities in the jungle, which mimics conditions seen in the nearby region. (Courtesy photo by Cpl. Nicole Dorrett, Australian Defence Force)
“I believe in my soul that Marines are different. Our identity is firmly rooted in our warrior ethos. This is the force that will always adapt and overcome no matter what the circumstances are. We fight and win in any clime and place,” stated the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) General David H. Berger in his 2019 CMC Planning Guidance.
To accomplish this, the Marines and Sailors took part in the Bushcraft Survival Course, Culture Camp, and Jungle Warfare Training across Australia.
It started moving 50 miles from Darwin. The Territory Wildlife Park in Berry Springs, Northern Territory (NT) holds a six-day course offering a set of skills to learn survival and sustainment.
“The training helped me realize that that I can use my issued military gear and the environment,” said Sergeant Oren De La Rosa, landing support specialist, Logistics Combat Element. “The skills learned [in bushcraft survival] made field operations easier. I used one of the methods during exercise Predator’s Run.”
The skills included building shelters with Marine Corps issued gear and the environment, making fires with pieces of flint and steel, preparing food with what’s available in nature, and conducting celestial navigation.
“It was a memorable experience using the Southern Cross to navigate through the environment,” added 1st Sergeant Louis Cardenas, the company first sergeant, Combat Logistics Company B. “Knowing that it holds a special place in the history of the Marine Corps and Australia.”
Culture Camp offered unique insights into hunting, including cultural and ceremonial aspects. Located in Bradshaw Field Training Area, about 450 miles from Darwin, the camp provided the Marines and the Australian Defence Force (ADF) to learn traditional skills from Australian traditional owners.
Marines with the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) detachment took part in the culture camp in July. The detachment conducted surface area clearance and assistance in the reduction of any explosive hazards in the area, on top of learning the skills of hunting and about the culture of Timber Creek communities.
“Blessed by the waters,” stated Sergeant Peter Hornbeck, EOD technician, when talking about his experience in culture camp. “The locals blessed us in the waters called ‘Croc Alley’, where we did the majority of our fishing. It was their way of welcoming us into their culture. We had the opportunity to go fishing deep inside the quarry and do a bit of hand and spinning rod fishing.”
As for Jungle Warfare Training, the Marines traveled to Tully, Queensland to learn at the Combat Training Centre-Jungle Training Wing Tully. 3d Battalion, 7th Marines’ India Company, 2nd platoon, travelled over 1,000 miles from Darwin to learn a different sets of skills.
The three-week training tested the Marines and the ADF in austere environments. During the training, the Marines and ADF worked from squad level patrols through thick vegetation, to platoon level route reconnaissance and camp clearances. Towards the end, the Marines served as the advanced guard, denying anti-armor ambushes to allow Australian light-armored vehicles to conduct reconnaissance on a beach landing site.
August 20, 2022 - U.S Marines with Marine Rotational Force–Darwin 22 secure a possible amphibious landing site during the Operational Regional War Fighter at Cowley Beach Training Area, Queensland. Operation Regional War Fighter supports the Australian Army’s recent focus on enhancing capabilities in the jungle, which mimics conditions seen in the nearby region. (Courtesy photo by Cpl. Nicole Dorrett, Australian Defence Force)
“Learning to move through the thick vegetation was challenging,” commented 1st Lieutenant Max Schlinker, India Co. 2d platoon commander. “It reduced our ability to maneuver through the terrain, especially at night. We identified the need to adapt our formations to maintain close control. And we conducted fire and movement more often than fire and maneuver”.
“We got to work with the B Squadron, 2/14 Light Horse Regiment throughout the training and that allowed us to get to know them very well. We established a good working relationship,” he added.
MRF-D continues to explore more ways to work alongside Australia and other regional allies and partners. The unique training increases readiness and the ability to respond to any crisis or contingency within the Indo-Pacific region.
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