US Marine settles into training in the Top End

Department of Defence

For United States Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Ron Pascual, one of the most important aims of his current Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) deployment is to “stay away from the crocodiles”.

That was the instruction given to him by his young daughter before he left home for the six-month deployment that sees up to 2500 Marines posted to the Top End.

“But I do hope to see different animals that I won’t be able to see anywhere else,” he said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Pascual is a laboratory technician and is part of the wider Marine Air and Ground Task Force that comprises MRF-D 24.

Since arriving in Australia two months ago, Petty Officer 2nd Class Pascual has participated in a number of medical training evolutions, such as the emergency medical technician course and various other interservice training events.

“Most of the training has honed our interoperability skills such as emergency care training with the ADF to see how see how they do casualty care,” he said.

“My favourite thing about being here is the new experience and just seeing how other people in the world do things.”

Commanding Officer Colonel Brian Mulvihill said the marines and sailors were honoured to continue the legacy of cooperation and interoperability with the ADF.

“Our strong alliance contributes to stability in the region and makes all our forces ready to respond to any crisis or contingency that arises,” Colonel Mulvihill said.

For Marine Sergeant Thomas Miller, the chance to travel to somewhere like the Northern Territory and to work with other, like-minded allied nations represented the opportunity of a lifetime.

“I think most people would agree, Australia is one of our strongest Allies in the world,” Sergeant Miller said.

“Historically, Marines in Australia, especially the 1st Marine Division, go back a long time in history.”

Since arriving in Australia, Sergeant Miller has been working with Australian Army anti-armour teams and is preparing to participate in Exercise Southern Jackaroo in Townsville later this month.

MRF-D is one of six United States force posture initiatives which form a key component of the Australia – United States alliance.

The Marines will remain in Australia until October, 2024.

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