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May 24, 2012
POIGNANT services have been held
around Australia to commemorate the
70th anniversary of the Battle of the
In Darwin, sailors from HMAS
Coonawarra joined members of the
US Marine Corps rotational force,
The commemorative service, held
at the USS Peary Memorial, was led
by CHAP John Marshall and support-
ed by a Navy flag party accompanied
by a bugler and drummer from the
Australian Army Band -- Darwin.
Commanding Officer of HMAS
Coonawarra CMDR Ben Favelle
described the anniversary as a chance
to honour an important episode of the
Pacific War and the warm relationship
between Australia and the US.
"It is most fitting that we meet
on significant occasions like this to
recognise and remember the mutu-
al sacrifice our countries have made
together," CMDR Favelle said.
In Brisbane, Commander US 7th
Fleet VADM Scott Swift and CO
USS Halsey CMDR Mike Weeldreyer
joined CN VADM Ray Griggs to com-
memorate the anniversary and also the
strategic importance of the alliance
between Australia and the US.
On a perfect day in Canberra,
Defence Parliamentary Secretary
Mike Kelly joined US Secretary of
Homeland Security Janet Napolitano
to lay a wreath to recognise the con-
tribution of both countries in the
Battle of the Coral Sea.
At the ceremony, Dr Kelly spoke
of the significant role the battle
played within our nation's history.
"While US and Japanese carriers
were engaged in a furious battle, the
first in which naval aircraft carriers
faced each other over the horizon,
VADM Crace's Australian United
States Support Force held off a push
from Japanese forces to occupy Port
Moresby," Dr Kelly said.
"The effect on the Japanese was
devastating -- forced back and into the
ultimately disastrous attempt to find a
land-based path to Port Moresby."
Also of significance was the
unveiling of a memorial in the
Canberra suburb of Crace, named
after VADM Crace's father, not far
from where he grew up in Gungahlin.
VADM Crace's 86-year-old son,
Christopher, travelled to Canberra for
The full historical details of the Battle of
the Coral Sea can be found on the Navy
website, at: http://www.navy.gov.au/
70 years of
IN REMEMBRANCE: Poppies float in the
moat surrounding the Australian-American
Memorial in Canberra.
Inset, VADM Scott Swift, CMDR Mike
Weeldreyer and CN VADM Ray Griggs
salute at the service in Brisbane.
Photos: POIS Ollie Garside and CPO John Richardson
DARWIN: US Marines salute during the playing of the Last Post at
the USS Peary Memorial.
Photo: ABIS James Whittle
CANBERRA: 816SQN Seahawks fly
past the Australian-American Memorial
at FDMSHL Sir Thomas Blamey Square.
Photo: POIS Ollie Garside
BRISBANE: LEUT Janelle Stewart leads School of Signals personnel
at the memorial service held at Newstead Park on the banks of the
Photo: CPO John Richardson
See page 18 for a
feature on ADM Sir
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