News: A tour through history: AAA invites MRF-D Marines to military museum
Story by Sgt. Sarah Fiocco
DARWIN, Northern Territory, Australia – The Australian American Association, Northern Territory, invited Marines with Marine Rotational Force – Darwin to tour the Darwin Military Museum, here, Aug. 11.
The strong Australian and American bond is evident throughout the museum. During their visit, Marines viewed tributes to the US such as a memorial for fallen allied troops in the Northern Territory during World War II and an American flag flown in memory of those sacrifices.
“American science-fiction writer Robert Heinlein once coined the term, ‘strangers in a strange land.’ You Marines might feel you’re just that, but for us, we don’t find you strangers at all,” said Tom Luis, museum director. “The USA was here in Darwin 71 years ago in action together fighting against a common enemy.”
During that time, the common enemy attacked the shores of the Northern Territory in what is known as the largest bombing by a foreign power on Australia.
“We recently opened a new display, ‘American alliance in the Top End,’” said Lewis. “It outlines the partnership that began with the United States Army Air Forces flying the only defending aircraft on Feb. 19, 1942.”
It was during this attack that the Australians and Americans formed a bond that still exists today.
“How did the alliance manifest itself?” asked Lewis. “The answer is in sacrifice of the ultimate nature – blood.”
Lewis said that of the approximately 235 casualties from the attack, 114 were US service members and 14 were US civilians. This means that more than half of those killed in action during the Bombing of Darwin were American.
Throughout World War II, America and Australia fought shoulder-to-shoulder here.
“The fighting men of the states and its compatriots gave their all, and victory was won by the allies against the forces of totalitarianism,” he explained. “Feb. 19, 1942, was the beginning of a fruitful union between America and Australia, which eventually saw allied victory in the pacific.”
The Bombing of Darwin is still a tragic event that plays on the hearts of all Australians.
“We will never forget,” said Lewis. “And the Darwin Military Museum asks that you don’t either.”