USA: NDW Commemorates 70th Anniversary of Battle of Coral Sea

NDW Commemorates 70th Anniversary of Battle of Coral Sea

Naval District Washington and the Australian Embassy commemorated the 70th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea at the U.S. Navy Memorial Plaza, May 1.

The ceremony remembered and honored those who participated in the battle from both the Australian and U.S. navies.

It’s an honor to be here and to celebrate the 70th commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea and today is truly a time to remember those who fought in that battle and those Sailors that really turned the tide at the war in the Pacific,” said Commander, Navy Installation Command Vice Adm. William French.

The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought May 7-8, 1942 in the waters southwest of the Solomon Islands and eastward from New Guinea. The battle was a major air and naval engagement of World War II and the first naval battle where the ships of the opposing sides never encountered each other.

During the ceremony Australian Ambassador to the United States the Honorable Kim Beazley spoke to the audience on the bond the battle created between Australia and the United States. The survival of Australia and its participation in the war solely depended on the outcome of this battle.

“It is probably more impactful on the mind of the average Australian than it is on the mind of the average American. This was the battle which turned the tide of Australia’s ‘year of living dangerously’,” said Beazley. “Australia had to look in different directions partly to our own resources and self reliance but also for new allies, and we looked to the United States.”

During the ceremony, Beazley and French placed two wreaths representing Australia and the United States near the Lone Sailor statue to honor the American and Australian naval victory.

“In 1942 whether you were a Sailor on the deck of a cruiser from Australia, or the Sailor on the deck of an aircraft carrier or someone flying in one of our aircrafts, those same core values ran through their veins to the core. The values that made the difference at Coral Sea,” said French.

The Coral Sea Battle resulted from the Japanese amphibious operation attempting to capture Port Moresby, located on New Guinea’s southeastern coast, threatening northeastern Australia. The U.S. Navy would intercept Japan’s forces stopping further expansion into the South Pacific and enhancement of Japan’s strategic defenses newly-enlarged oceanic empire.

“The battle’s outcome was determined by the actions and leadership of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Australian and U.S. Sailors’ actions at Coral Sea have become the stuff of legend,” said French. “The strength of their character and resolve then and now continue to be a hallmark of our navies and our nations.”

The Battle of the Coral Sea proved to be more than a strategic victory for the two nations, as Japan experienced its first major setback and lost two fleet carriers, ShĂ´kaku and Zuikaku. These two ships would not participate in the Battle of Midway, fought a month later.

“I am amazed at what the Americans decided to do at Coral Sea. The United States, at that time in the war, was outnumbered and out-gunned in the pacific zone,” said Beazley. “Yet the United States decided to send half the aircraft carriers they had available to them. What an extraordinary act of courage by the leadership of the Navy both in Washington and in Hawaii.”

Visit Naval District Washington’s Facebook page to get up-to-date news on the Battle of Midway commemoration ceremony on June 4 and other events in the region.

Naval Today Staff , May 04, 2012; Image: navy