The first Marines to take part in a controversial series of deployments to Australia have arrived in Darwin. And the Top End was delighted by their addition to what Chief Minister Paul Henderson called Darwin’s “culturally vibrant community”.
The 200 American troops are the advance guard of a controversial military rotation agreed to by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Barack Obama when the US President visited Australia in November.
They will take part in the exercise Talisman Sabre with Australian troops in the Northern Territory and Queensland.
Marines will now arrive in six-month rotations for joint exercises and unilateral projects. Eventually there will be 2500 soldiers in the Marine Air Group Task Force in the peaceful invasion. “There are no US military bases in Australia and this will not change,” Prime Minister Gillard said in a statement tonight.
“This initiative will provide tangible benefits for Australia by increasing the number, variety and complexity of training opportunities for the ADF and further developing our interoperability with US forces.
“It also supports Australia’s long-held strategic interests in supporting US engagement in our region in a manner that promotes peace and stability. The initiative could also provide new opportunities for Australiana and US engagement with our partners in the region.”