DARWIN, AUSTRALIA – The recent deployment of United States Marines to Australia was put on hold Monday, following revelations by the Marine Corps that the Commanding Officer from Fox Company, Second Battalion, Third Marines had been carried off by wild dingos in an incident over the weekend.
The battalion was conducting training exercise VIGILANT KOALA, near Uluru in the Northern Territories at the time of the incident.
At approximately 12:30am, the battalion's Combat Operations Center (COC) for the field exercise received a radio check from Fox Company's night watch, which consisted of Captain Joel Caden, Lance Corporal Zavier Danell, and Private Justin Hollands.
Shortly after that, Captain Caden dismissed Lance Corporal Danell and Private Hollands to guard the company's ammo supply point on the other side of the encampment.
One hour later, another routine radio check by battalion went unanswered.
Around 3:55am, a logistics convoy passing by the Fox Company bivouac site reported that the Company COC tent had been torn down and the company guidon was missing. Around the tent, Marines discovered multiple paw prints which disappeared into the brush.
A search of the area failed to turn up any evidence of Captain Caden until the following morning, when the guidon and some shredded cammies were located in a nearby dingo lair. The Captain's whereabouts are still unknown at this time.
"I'm at a loss for how this could happen," said Battalion Commander LtCol Justin Dunne. "Everybody knows how dangerous Australian wildlife is," he said as he shook a nest of spiders out of his ILBE pack for the third time that day.
LtCol Dunne explained that as part of the battalion's pre-deployment training the Marines were briefed on dingos, crocodiles, large snakes, kangaroos, tasmanian devils, wallabies, great white sharks, and the dreaded platypus. The command even threw in stringrays because of Steve Irwin.
He added, "Hell, on the flight over we made them watch A Cry in the Dark and Crocodile Dundee."
This is not the first time 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines has had an unfortunate encounter with Australian wildlife.
One week after arriving in Darwin, local police broke up ring of Sergeants who were trying to teach kangaroos the Marine Corps Martial Arts Program.
"I know they've got boxing kangaroos here," said Sergeant Brandon Dominick, "but why box when an eye gouge is just as effective?"
An attempt at practicing amphibious landings off the coast floundered when, after a series of Great White Shark attacks, Marines discovered that the Amphibious Assault Vehicle has the same profile and texture as an extremely fat sea lion.
The official explanation for the recent tragedy, which some Marines are already referring to as the "Dingo-Ate-My-Battalion" is not accepted by everyone.
"Have they ruled out quicksand?" said a visibly nervous Lance Corporal Manuel Lorenzokerpens. "Maybe those paw prints were really lion tracks! I know lions aren't native to Australia, but maybe it escaped from a zoo or something. I mean, you have to think 2/3 here!"