US Marines will do better than ‘subsist’ on Australian food

They will stay for years, number up to 2500, possibly have their own aircraft and artillery, train with the Aboriginal-dominated Norforce unit and drop in to help in Asia-Pacific disaster zones alongside Australia’s Diggers.

But whatever you do, don’t call the Marine Rotational Force in Darwin, Australia, part of a U.S. base.

”No, no again,” said Lieutenant-Colonel AnDroy Senegar when pressed on how much his operation looked like the forerunner of an official base.

”We will build no infrastructure. We will subsist on Australian food. We will be part of the community. It will be a partnership. We will not be intrusive.”

No worries, here’s our dinner from a couple of days ago: Moreton Bay sand crabs with stuffed shells. Whatever the Marines eat, there will be choices aplenty.

When the Marines arrived in early April for the first of their six-month rotations, then federal Defence Minister, Stephen Smith, justified their presence by saying: ”The world is moving in our direction. It is moving to the Asia-Pacific.

”It is not just the rise of China, it is the rise of China, the rise of India, the rise of the ASEAN economies combined, the emergence of Indonesia, not just as a regional influence but as a global influence,” he said at a welcoming ceremony in Darwin.