TASMAN SEA -- U.S. Marines and sailors from Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, embarked on the Royal Australian Navy’s Amphibious Assault Ship, Landing Helicopter Dock, HMAS Adelaide (LHD 01), at Port of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, on June 16, 2016. Marines and sailors, along with their equipment and a small number of vehicles, will arrive in Adelaide to participate in Exercise Hamel, alongside members of the Australian Army and U.S. Army.
Approximately 180 Marines and sailors of MRF-D embarked, marking the first time this size of U.S. Marines have been aboard an Australian vessel since roughly World War II.
“This embarkation is a key milestone for not only the Marines and sailors of Alpha Company but the Corps as a whole as we increase our proficiency in amphibious capabilities,” said Capt. Christopher S. Brock, Commanding Officer of Company A, 1st Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. “We have the chance to expand our relationships with the Australian Defence Force,” said Brock, from Tuscon, Arizona.
Over 1,000 personnel are aboard the ship, the largest embarkation of troops the Adelaide has seen since its commissioning on December 4, 2015, said Capt. Paul Mandziy, Commanding Officer of HMAS Adelaide. “This multi-national embarkation allows us to improve our ability to operate with our partner nations.”
“Lots of planning and coordination takes place with such a large number on board, serving over 3,000 meals a day,” said Mandziy.
While aboard, Marines and sailors will participate in several ship’s activities, from observing Colors, eating and living together, and competing in several physical training events that strengthens partnerships.
“We are competing in a friendly spin competition,” said Cpl. Colin M. Stokes, team leader of 1st Squad, 2nd Platoon, Company A. “I was behind at first, but seeing the Aussies next to me working hard pushed me to want to pass them.” Stokes, from Springfield, Illinois, was one of many competing in a cycle the sea competition between the Australian sailors and soldiers and the U.S. Marines and soldiers.
Once in Adelaide, the Marines of Company A will meet with an additional 500 Marines and sailors of MRF-D to conduct Exercise Hamel, a bi-lateral, non-live fire, force on force exercise.