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U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. George W. Smith, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force (I MEF), arrives in Darwin during his visit of Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) 22 at Royal Australian Air Force Base Darwin, NT, Australia, June 7, 2022. I MEF leadership visited Darwin, Australia to better understand MRF-D 22’s capabilities and their operating environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente)

Photo by Staff Sgt. Antonio De La Fuente

I MEF CG Visits Darwin to Reinforce MRF-D’s Movement Forward

22 Jun 2022 | Capt. Joseph DiPietro Marine Rotational Force - Darwin

DARWIN, AUSTRALIA. – Lieutenant General George Smith, Commanding General of I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF), visited the Marine Rotational Force-Darwin (MRF-D) on June 7 - 8.

“The MAGTF is doing a great job of training alongside the ADF, and has been for years,” said General Smith, who leads the Southern California-based MEF. “MRF-D is dead center of the largest MAGTF in the Marine Corps.”

After ten years of Marine Corps rotations through the Northern Territory, I MEF now serves as the higher headquarters for the MRF-D, and will continue to provide the balance of Marines and Sailors in the coming years. Like the 2022 rotation, I MEF will continue to send standing regimental headquarters to serve as the MAGTF’s command element. This change, as well as several other refinements to the deployed force structure, increased the ability of MRF-D to integrate with the Australian Defence Force (ADF), and other shared regional partners.

“The transition was noticeable from the start of this year's rotation," said Headquarters Northern Command Commanding Officer Colonel Marcus Constable, the senior Australian leader responsible for coordination between the ADF and MRF-D. “In years' past, MRF-D took a few months to come together before reaching a fully capable status. This year, MRF-D 22 arrived more capable of training alongside ADF forces and in more complex environments and scenarios.”

MRF-D is, and must continue to be postured to facilitate operations from humanitarian assistance to high-intensity combat in the region, in support of our allied and partnered nations. A large part of that readiness is nested within the training environment here in the Northern Territory and relationship with the ADF, particularly with 1st Brigade.

“Australia provides one of the best training environments I’ve seen, and the close partnership we have with our ADF hosts has already yielded noticeable results in terms of our ability operate alongside on another,” said Colonel Chris Steele, the MRF-D 22 commanding officer and leader of MRF-D’s transition forward. “The MAGTF arrived well-trained and eager to learn, and I’ve been impressed with the aggressive bilateral training I’ve seen to date. This training is how we increase our combined USMC-ADF warfighting proficiency – by working through how to solve the toughest battlefield problems, together. We were prepared to respond to crisis or contingency yesterday, we’re better prepared today.”

In preparation for MRF-D 22, elements of the MRF-D MAGTF participated in 1st Marine Division’s premier exercise, STEEL KNIGHT. This exercise allowed the team to work through a range of mission rehearsals together, and improve its ability to integrate all elements of the force in support of Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations.

“There is a clear recognition of the power of a cohesive MAGTF,” emphasized General Smith to the MRF-D 22 command team. “You are propelling the Marine Corps forward.”

I Marine Expeditionary Force