Marines with Weapons Platoon, Lima Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines, conduct a patrol in Australia in June. Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., will be the next to deploy for Marine Forces Rotation-Darwin. (Sgt. Sarah Fiocco/Marine Corps)
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A full battalion landing team out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., will head to Australia next spring, the largest contingent of Marines to head Down Under for a rotational deployment.
More than 1,100 members of Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 5th Marines, will comprise Marine Rotational Force-Darwin in its next iteration, said Chuck Little, a spokesman with Marine Corps Forces Pacific.
It is the third rotation of Marines to northwestern Australia. The first two rotations each involved about 200 Marines assigned to companies based in Hawaii.
Marines with Lima Company, 3/3, returned from their six-month deployment in September. Members of Fox Company, 2/3, deployed to Australia in 2012.
This next deployment — the first step of Phase II, keeps the expansion of the rotational force on track. The Corps plans to send 2,500 Marines — a full Marine air-ground task force — to Darwin in 2016 as the third phase.
Lt. Gen. Terry Robling, commander of MARFORPAC, said the buildup to Phase II includes not only an infantry battalion, but a combat logistics detachment, a CH-53E Super Stallion detachment and other enablers, such as logistical personnel and gear and command-and-control personnel and gear.
The Marines will stay in Robertson Barracks aboard an Australian army base, Robling said. Most of the areas they’ll train in are within a one- to two-hour drive from the barracks. The helos and vehicles of 1/5 will support their movements, he added.
The Marines are expected to take part in a number of exercises during that deployment, including Alam Halfa in New Zealand and Southern Frontier and Golden Eagle in Australia, Robling said. All of the exercises are designed to boost interoperability between U.S. and Australian forces.