US Marine Corps Rotational Force Pays Tribute at the 70th Anniversary of the Coral Sea Battle

US Marine Corps Rotational Force Pays Tribute at the 70th Anniversary of the Coral Sea Battle

Sailors from HMAS Coonawarra were joined by members of the current US Marine Corps rotational force, Northern Territory in supporting the 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea today.

The commemorative service held at the USS Peary Memorial in Darwin was led by Royal Australian Navy Chaplain John Marshall and supported by a Navy flag party accompanied by a bugler and drummer from the Australian Army Band – Darwin.

The Battle of the Coral Sea from 4 to 8 May 1942 has been described by some as the battle that saved Australia.

It was the first time the juggernaut of Japanese advances in the Pacific had been stopped in World War II. It was the battle that prevented the Japanese from landing a large invasion force at Port Moresby, north of Australia’s mainland and this marked the change from primarily a defensive strategy of the allies to that of an offensive one.

Commander Ben Favelle, Commanding Officer of HMAS Coonawarra addressed the gathering and described the anniversary as a chance to honour an important episode of the Pacific War and the warm relationship between Australia and America, then and now.

“It is most fitting that we meet on significant occasions like this to recognise, and remember the mutual sacrifice our countries have made together” he said.

“We may well use the term Strategic Victory to describe the Battle of the Coral Sea, but this does not do justice to the sacrifice made by many young Australian and American men and their families.

“The family histories of these men do not consist of strategic victories, but rather great loss, sacrifice and often heroism. That is what we commemorate today”.

Lieutenant Colonel AnDroy Senegar, US Marine Corps representing the United States Mission to Australia and the current Marine rotational force delivered a message from the President of the United States, Barack Obama.

LTCOL Senegar read “American and Australian forces stood united in the Coral Sea, delivering a victory that buoyed the spirits of free nations and marked an important milestone in the enduring partnership between the United States and Australia.

“On this occasion, we reaffirm the strong bond between our nations and honour the selfless devotion of the American and Australian service members who bravely fought in that battle 70 years ago”.


Naval Today News Staff, May 7, 2012; Image: Navy