Exercise Southern Jackaroo enhances
international combat readiness
Australian Army soldiers, from 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, watch a demonstration of the M224 60mm mortar by United States Marine Corps personnel at Shoalwater Bay training area, near Rockhampton. Photo © Australian Army.
Hundreds of Australian soldiers, troops from the Japanese Ground Self Defence Force (JGSDF) and US Marines began a major warfighting exercise at Queensland’s Shoalwater Bay training area in May.
Running until May 27, 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, said the combined arms activity would 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,” Brigadier 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 built on past activities and enhanced collective strength. “MRF-D is excited to continue the outstanding tradition of Southern Jackaroo alongside our trusted Australian and Japanese allies,” Colonel 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 with 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,” Lieutenant Colonel Asano said.
Taking part in the exercise are about 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, maritime and land cooperation, and the establishment of a combined logistics, sustainment and maintenance enterprise.