‘Fun and frisky’ Down Under


Gen. James Amos talks to Marines at Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, on Aug. 3. The commandant this week visited Hawaii-based Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, who are deployed in Australia, during his trip through the Asia-Pacific region. The next unit in the new scheduled six-month rotations to Australia will leave in the spring, after the rainy season. (Photo by Cpl. Reese Lodder)

This year’s deployment of a Marine infantry company, the first in what will become a larger rotation of units to Australia, has garnered lots of attention Down Under and throughout South Asia as officials and analysts lauded or questioned the larger strategic reasons, namely China’s rising influence and expanding military, for the new quasi-permanent U.S. military presence.

Gen. Jim Amos, visiting the Australian Army’s Robertson Barracks that’s been the main garrison for the deployed Marines with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion, 3rd Marines, praised the benefits of these renewed U.S-Aussie ties and dismissed any notions the deployments were an attempt to wield more power in the region. “There is a lot of opportunity to work together: humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, training together and to actually have an influence on sea lines of communications, commerce, free trade  and responsible behaviour in the Asia-Pacific area,” Amos said, according to Australia’s ABC News. “I don’t look at it as sabre rattling at all.” Amos said. 

Amos called the deployment “very, very successful.” The 200 Marines with Fox Company, who landed in Australia in April,  have stayed busy during the deployment, which temporarily had them off the continent for training and exercising with regional military forces. “While Marines are a fun and frisky group, they’re happy to be here,” Amos said, according to The Australian, the continent’s national daily. “I couldn’t have scripted (the deployment) any better.”

The Marines recently wrapped up an exercise with Australia defense forces, including close-air support training with an F/A-18 Hornet squadron, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 232, at Delamere Training Area in the Northern Territory near Darwin.

Fox 2/3 is expected to return to Hawaii in late September. The next group of Marines, likely another infantry company from Hawaii, will deploy to Darwin in the spring as part of the new Unit Deployment Program rotations to Australia announced earlier this year. The Marine Corps plans to boost those numbers to 2,500 by 2016 or 2017.


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  1. The good General can say he doesn’t view it as saber rattling, but that’s absurd.

    I’m assuming he’s not that stupid or naive, but if he is, I can send him dozens of articles that point out our shifting military posture toward Southeast Asia.

    We have 330,000 troops in the Pacific alrady. We’re shifting more.

    I think a discussion is way overdue about our future security plans as a country.

    I think there are some legitimate — and intimidating — questions that need to be asked and answered. Like, for instance:

    [ ] How much will it cost us as a country to continue as a global power over the next twenty years? How about over the next fifty? And why is this necessary?

    [ ] Are we willing — following two long, hard ones — to jump into another war if necessary?

    [ ] How about two? (Iran? Syria? North Korea? China?)

    [ ] Can we win a long-term military build-up contest with China? Yes, we beat the Soviets, but their economy doesn’t compare. Furthermore, I sense fatigue (and weakness) across our land.

    These are just a few of the questions I have, but I don’t expect them to be asked and certainly not answered. Our military industrial complex is too strong — and our fear as a people too high — to even consider such talk.

    So, go ahead and call me weak or soft for even throwing them out there. I expect nothing less. (But know I served four years in the infantry, was discharged as a Sergeant, and earned a Combat Action Ribbon before you run your stupid mouth.)

    But back to the point, you might want to start thinking about these questions because if you don’t, I assure you no one else will.

    Stan R. Mitchell

  2. Benjamin Bender on

    First off he is “THE” Commandant. Not a General.

    Second, the Marines work alot differently than the Army in which you served. We need to be pre positioned as close to the potential next theater as possible. By keeping us close to the action and able to respond quickly (measured in minutes not weeks like an Army deployment….airborne excepted).

    We should be closing most of our German bases etc and preparing for the next big enemy. China and North Korea. Im pretty sure the Russians wont be pushing tank divisions through the Fulda Gap anytime soon.

    Keep in mind that Marine Bases/Barracks are much smaller and less expensive than US Army Bases. The Marine Corps prides itself on doing alot with less (most of my equipment was Army hand me downs from decades past).

    It’s hard to remain a World Power….without the power.

  3. Hey Benjamin,

    Thanks for the comments. I served in 1/8, 2nd Mar Div, so I can’t blame my mistake of not realizing he was the Commandant on being in a different branch. I just skimmed right by the name following “General,” making the assumption that if it was the Commandant, it would have stated that. (I know, I know. That’s what happens when you “assume.”)

    You mention being a World Power, and I agree it’s hard to remain one without the power.

    My greater question is if we should remain one, and if we should, then how are we going to afford it?

    I’d also love to know what it will cost us if we don’t go to war with China over the next 20 years.

    And how much it will cost if we do? (Is it $1 trillion? $2 trillion? $5 trillion? More?)

    And I hope you’re aware that the Russians made some strong signals of military cooperation with China. (http://news.yahoo.com/russias-putin-says-push-military-ties-china-085745345.html)

    China will be on a strong 50 or 100 year growth trend, and right now, we’re assuming we can hang with them. We have a head start, but I’m not so sure.

    We have $

  4. Sorry — my comment got cut off.

    Anyway, we have $15 trillion in debt, an approaching demographic nightmare, and a Congress comprised of a bunch of three-year-olds who can’t get along.

    I don’t doubt the valor and strength of our military. I just have serious questions about our country’s ability to compete with China, as well as our country’s determination to go toe-to-toe with them if it comes down to that.

    Finally, I’d like to rely more on our natural blessings for defense. We have two of the safest neighbors of any country in the world, and we’re protected by two enormous oceans.

    We, as a country, should have a discussion about our long-term defense goals, but that will never happen. Both parties are sold out to the military industrial complex, and all their lobbyists and corporate donors.

  5. frisky? that’s a slip: while the litany of sexual assault by marines in okinawa should be sufficient grounds to avoid such language, even here in darwin we already have experience of gang rape by us servicemen on R&R in our town. and as for ‘humanitarian assistance and disaster relief’ – who do they think they’re kidding?

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