Hundreds of Australian soldiers, troops from the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) and US Marines have started a major warfighting exercise at Queensland’s Shoalwater Bay Training Area. Running until 27 May, Exercise Southern Jackaroo is a trilateral training activity designed to enhance warfighting interoperability, strengthen international relationships and improve combat readiness.
Commander of the 7th Brigade, Brigadier Michael Say, says the combined arms activity will feature infantry live fire and tank integration “Exercise Southern Jackaroo is a great example of how our regional partners integrate with Australian forces to conduct realistic combat team training for combat operations,” Say said. “Our combined capability to coordinate ground forces demonstrates adaptability and interoperability that can be applied to disaster relief or warfighting operations.”
Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) Commanding Officer, Colonel Christopher Steele, said Southern Jackaroo builds on past activities and enhances collective strength. “MRF-D is excited to continue the outstanding tradition of Southern Jackaroo alongside our trusted Australian and Japanese allies,” Steele said. “We are looking forward to enhancing our combined interoperability and developing our relationships.”
JGSDF Training Unit Commander Lieutenant Colonel Ryozo Asano said it was a great honour to have the opportunity to participate in a trilateral exercise between Japan, the United States and Australia. “Considering the current world situation, the trilateral exercise is very significant, and it is very useful for improving the capability of units and all soldiers,” Asano said.
Exercise Southern Jackaroo will feature around 400 soldiers from the Australian Defence Force (ADF), 190 from the MRF-D and 70 from the JGSDF. Up to 2,200 MRF-D personnel will conduct combined training with the ADF this year, with Exercise Southern Jackaroo forming part of a series of warfighting training activities. The MRF-D is part of the US force posture initiatives which were expanded at AUSMIN 2021 to include enhanced air cooperation, enhanced maritime cooperation, enhance land cooperation and the establishment of a combined logistics, sustainment, and maintenance enterprise.