US Marine stationed in Australia accused of rape while base is locked down
A US Marine stationed in Australia has been charged with aggravated assault and sexual intercourse without consent.
The 20-year-old sailor was arrested in Palmerston, south of Darwin, on Monday in connection with the incident which allegedly occurred there earlier in the day.
The American was released on bail to appear in Darwin Local Court at a later date.
Since 2012, the Marine Rotational Force has stationed personnel in the Top End of Australia at several military bases.
Starting with just 250 Marines in the first year, there is now a 2,500-person air-ground task force.
A 20-year-old US Marine faces rape and assault charges after being arrested in the Northern Territory on Monday.
A US Defense spokesperson said marines were assisting NT police with the investigation.
The spokesperson said the US defense forces “does not tolerate this type of behavior and is committed to upholding high standards of good order and discipline, as well as upholding justice and the rule of law,” he said.
The marine base at Robertson Barracks was reportedly on lockdown.
None of the 150 U.S. service members can leave the base to receive visitors, under what the spokesperson called a “restricted liberty status” at the base.
The Americans were due to leave Darwin in October following the joint Predators Run exercise.
Predators Run was Australia’s largest military exercise in the Northern Territory, but it came to a tragic conclusion when three marines were killed in an accident.
U.S. Marine Corps crew chief Corporal Spencer Collart, 21, pilot Capt. Eleanor LeBeau, 29, and Maj. Tobin Lewis, 37, died when their Boeing MV tilt-rotor plane -22B Osprey plunged to the ground and burst into flames on isolated Melville Island. 80 km north of Darwin towards the end of August.
No Australian members were involved.
Alongside Australian and US troops, Indonesia, East Timor and the Philippines also took part in the training.
The Robertson Barracks, where 150 U.S. Marines are stationed, was placed on lockdown after the arrest.
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Last year, the Marine Rotational Force – Darwin was accompanied by ten MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft which were used in training exercises with the Australian Defense Force.
The Marine Rotational Force – Darwin is an example of what the Marine Corps calls Marine Air Ground Task Forces. It is one of three elements of the United States Marine Corps Forces, Pacific, headquartered in Hawaii.
Every year since 2012, the MRF-D has spent six months in Darwin undergoing training to increase the Marines’ interoperability with the Australian Defense Force and other regional partners.
Each MRF-D rotation in recent years had three main elements: ground combat, air combat, and logistics combat.
The MRF-D personnel came from the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Pendleton in San Diego, and were joined by ships and Marines from the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force based at Camp Courtney in Okinawa.
The rotation involves 2,500 personnel, accompanied by ten Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft, as well as Viper attack helicopters and Venom utility helicopters. This year’s rotation will be accompanied by a battery of M777 howitzers.
Most of the visiting troops were based at Robertson Barracks in Darwin, but some have been deployed in the past to Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, Far North Queensland.
The Marines train extensively in the Northern Territory, but also participate in exercises outside Australia, including with forces from New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Tonga and French military forces in the South Pacific.
Major live fire exercises with Australian Defense Force units are taking place at Bradshaw Field Training Area and Mount Bundey Training Area, Northern Territory, as well as at Shoalwater Bay, on the Capricorn Coast, Queensland.