News: Marines and Australian service members commemorate Battle of Coral Sea
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia – In four days, 71 years ago, Australia and its allied forces engaged in the largest naval battle that has ever been fought off its shores.
To honor those who fought and those who lost their lives during the Battle of Coral Sea, May 4-8, 1942, Australian service members and Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin attended a commemorative service at the USS Peary Gun Memorial, here, May 3.
The ceremony’s location signified the build up of the Battle of Coral Sea that started with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, and Darwin on Feb. 19, 1942. The attack on Darwin led to the sinking of USS Peary, killing 89 of its crewmembers.
“The battle forged a strong and lasting alliance with the United States, based on the realization that our two great nations were destined to share common interests, common attitudes and common goals,” said Royal Australian Navy Lt. Cmdr. Jon Davidson, executive officer, HMAS Coonawarra.
The perseverance of the service members who fought in the battle helped turn the tide of World War II in the Pacific in favor of the allied forces.
“The Coral Sea will forever live in our memories as the place where hundreds of selfless American and Australian service members gave their lives in the name of freedom,” read Lt. Col. Matthew Puglisi, officer in charge, Marine Rotational Force – Darwin, from President Barack Obama’s message. “During these days of remembrance, Americans stand with Australians to honor their legacy as we recommit to the vitality of our alliance and the promotion of lasting peace.”