News: US Marines, Australian Defence Force share history through unit patch
ROCKHAMPTON, Australia - The unit patch of one Australian Defence Force outfit reflects a history of shed blood with the U.S. Marines.
The patch, which incorporates elements of the U.S. 1st Marine Division logo, is in part due to Damien Parer and his sacrifice one bloody day during World War II. Parer, one of Australia's most famous official war photographers was killed Sept. 17, 1944, on a beachhead while filming the 1st Marine Division assault a beach on Peleliu Island.
Working for the American Paramount company, the combat photo-journalist was killed by Japanese mortar fire while filming the combat against Japanese troops. It is from this man the Australian Defence Force's 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit, draws its history.
Parer's passion for photography developed while he was in Greece and Crete in 1935. Parer said in an interview with ABC News, the civil war in Greece and Crete was where he filmed his "first decent war pictures."
While serving with the Department of Information Film Unit in August 1940, Parer covered Australians fighting in the Middle East for two years. The resulting films were featured on Australian newsreels.
Parer is best known for his work on “Kokoda Front Line,” documenting Australian troops fighting in Papua and New Guinea from 1940 to 1942. He won the first Academy Award for war correspondence for this film. Parer's time with the government included work on “Hit and Run” from Men of Timor, a documentary filmed for Army Public Relations in 1942. Parer joined Paramount News to film the war in the Pacific after resigning his position at the Department of Information.
"One of the last photos taken of Damien Parer was with the U.S. Marines on Peleliu where he introduced the Americans to 'Billy Tea,' made from tea leaves steeped in a pot over a camp fire," according to ADF Cpl. Ray Vance of Sydney, an imagery specialist with the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit.
Ray said, "Damien Parer is the personification of a war photographer. He knew that to get great photographs, he needed to be with the troops on the front line where the action was."
In 2002, the Australian Defence Force pulled public affairs officers and photographers from the then electronic media unit, dividing the civilian and military into two new units to form the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit.
Today, the unit has 35 members deployed around the world. The unit's patch was designed with the triservice colors of the Australian navy, army and air force with the 1st Marine Division logo atop, representing the shared history of Australia and America.
At Talisman Sabre 2011, members of the 1st Joint Public Affairs Unit make up half of the Combined Joint Information Bureau in Rockhampton, Queensland. The CJIB also includes are U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The unit has 30 military public affairs officers, photographers and journalists.
Date Posted:07.28.2011 02:35
Location:ROCKHAMPTON, QL, AU
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