Come and Say G’day: USO Sends Support Down Under as Rotational Force Grows
Friday, July 26, 2013
By Joseph Andrew Lee
Back in 1999, the Marines made a few good friends in Darwin,
Australia, when they joined an Australian-led peacekeeping mission to quell the
violence in the small South Pacific country of East Timor.
Since then, the Aussies and the Yanks have been strategic brothers
The Marines are now heading toward a permanent presence in Australia, and the USO is with them in
lockstep, equipped with support and comfort items including a large
outdoor grill, free Wi-Fi and Internet connectivity, indoor and outdoor
furniture, gaming stations, and even a 70-inch television via USO2GO and USO
Holiday Box shipments.
The Marines' move to Australia will further enhance their recent sharing of experiences and enhancing of tactics, techniques and
In fact, you may have read reports about the realignment of
Marines and sailors in the South Pacific. The big news this year was an
agreement with Japan on base realignments in Okinawa and the deployment of
rotational Marines in Darwin. The ultimate goal, according to the Pentagon, is
to have 23,000 Marines strategically stationed west of the international
dateline. Part of that strategy is to move 5,000 Marines and sailors from
Okinawa to Guam by 2020 and 2,500 Marines — an entire Marine Air-Ground Task
Force — to Darwin by 2017.
Australian rotations will primarily consist of Unit
Deployment Program (UDP) Marines from Hawaii and
California who'll go to Australia in conjunction with their regular deployments to Japan and
While the transition is just beginning, the USO is already
ramping up its support for more than 250 Marines and sailors currently on
rotation in Darwin, and plans to increase that support through the next year as
the number of troops on rotation there grows to 1,100 in April 2014.
“We are thrilled
to provide a way for these Marines and sailors to connect with their loved ones
or to just sit back and enjoy themselves after a tough day of training in some
pretty austere conditions,” said Alan Reyes, senior vice president of
operations for the USO.
USO is uniquely able to provide this much-needed home-away-from-home service
for deployed troops. … We have the scale, scope, presence, reach, and knowledge
through which we’ve earned a deep level of trust from troops and their
families. They trust that we will lift their spirits, and our donors and
sponsors trust that we are the best way that they can say ‘thank you’ to our
troops and their families.”
Photo caption: Marine Rotational Force Darwin (MRF-D) Marines celebrate Independence Day with party supplies provided by the USO2GO program.
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