Concerns over the COVID-19 novel coronavirus infiltrating the ranks of US troops have resulted in a delay to the deployment of some 2,500 Marines to Australia as part of Marine Rotational Force – Darwin (MRF-D) 2020. Marine Corps Forces Pacific commander Lt. Gen. Lewis Craparotta announced Monday that this year’s six-month rotation of US Marines to Australia would not be taking place in April due to a newly initiated prohibition on overseas travel by the US Department of Defense.
“In cooperation with the Australian government the MRF-D 2020 rotation is delayed at this time due to concerns over COVID-19, and we agree that force protection must be a top priority for both countries as we continue to fight the virus,” he said, as reported by the Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.
According to US Marine Corps Forces Pacific officials, the option still remains for the deployment to occur later in the year. Additionally, equipment and other various supplies will still be delivered to Australia – without any service members accompanying the drop.