Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett hosted a commemorative ceremony marking the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea (4-8 May 1942) aboard HMAS Choules on 1 May in the Coral Sea.
CAPTION: Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Chief of Navy Vice Admiral Tim Barrett carry wreaths to cast from the flight deck of HMAS Choules during the commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea. Photo by Able Seaman Richard Cordell.
The ceremony honoured the sacrifices of all Navy personnel on both sides who lost their lives during the battle.
Attendees at the ceremony included Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove and Lady Lyn Cosgrove, Minister for Defence Marise Payne, Federal Attorney-General Senator George Barndis, State Minister for Defence (Japan) Kenji Wakamiya, Ambassador of Japan to Australia Sumio Kusaka, US Charge D’Affaires James Caruso, Chief of Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin and Commander US Pacific Fleet Admiral Scott Swift.
Australia’s joint operations with the US Navy during the Pacific War set the scene for Australia’s consequent enduring alliance with the United States.
The Battle of the Coral Sea was the first naval battle in history where the opposing fleets could not see each other at sea level and yet they inflicted massive damage on each other.
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs Dan Tehan said Australians would remember the service and sacrifice of all those who fought in the Battle of the Coral Sea on its 75th anniversary.
Mr Tehan said the Battle of the Coral Sea had been one of the defining naval battles of the Second World War in the Pacific.
“The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought in the waters south-west of the Solomon Islands and east of New Guinea between 4 and 8 May 1942,” Mr Tehan said.
“It was the first naval battle in history where the ships of the opposing sides never fired at, or sighted, the other.
“The Battle of the Coral Sea checked Japanese expansion in the Pacific. If the Japanese had been successful they could have landed a force in Port Moresby, cutting Australia-US communications and threatening Australia with invasion.
“The American commander General Douglas MacArthur said the battle ‘undoubtedly saved Australia from a definite and immediate threat’.
“To the men and women of Australia and the United States who saved us from that threat, I offer the thanks of the grateful generations that came after you.
“On this important anniversary we remember those who fought in that battle. Their efforts in the Battle of the Coral Sea will not be forgotten.”
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull attended 75th Battle of the Coral Sea commemorations in New York, hosted by the America-Australia Association (AAA).
The Australian government granted the AAA $25,000 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea at a dinner held on board USS Intrepid on 4 May 2017.
Money raised from the dinner will be used to create an American-Australian Veterans’ Scholarship Fund for disabled veterans to pursue undergraduate or postgraduate study and to support directional scholarship grants between the two nations.