20:33 AEST Mon May 9 2005AAPSix thousand US Marines and sailors will be dispersed across Queensland to enjoy several days of rest and relaxation.The Amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard and guided-missile cruiser USS Milius will arrive in Brisbane as part of the Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG-5).
Other ships in the group, the USS Duluth and USS Rushmore have already arrived in Cairns, while the guided missile cruiser USS Bunker Hill pulled into Townsville and the guided missile frigate USS Thach into Mackay.
"The men and women of ESG-5 are excited at the opportunity to experience Australia's history and culture as well as Australia's world-famous hospitality," Commander of ESG-5 Rear Admiral Christopher Ames said.
The group is returning to its home port of San Diego, California, following a six month deployment to Iraq as also to Indonesia and Sri Lanka, where they provided assistance and disaster relief to the Boxing Day tsunami victims.
ESG-5 brings together the resources of 6,000 sailors and marines, six surface ships, more than 30 aircraft and high-speed landing craft.