Marines have been known for their prowess on land, air and sea, but now Marines are going ‘down under’.
President Barack Obama announced that the United States would begin deploying Marines to Australia in 2012. The decision was made in an effort to strengthen the 60-year Australia-New Zealand-U.S. alliance as well as increase national security.
Beginning mid-2012, company-size rotations of 200 to 250 Marines will begin deploying near Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory for six-month rotations. Their presence will expand to a force of 2,500 over the next several years.
Marines and Australian troops have fought and died alongside one another in several wars over six decades in ever-changing environments.
The 1st Marine Division has a particularly rich history with Australia that began in World War II. Marines of the 1st Division were recorded in action by one of Australia’s most famous official war photographers, Damien Parer as they fought the Japanese in the 1940s. Parer was dedicated to documenting the fighting of his comrades and died amidst Japanese gunfire while filming a U.S. Marine advance on the island of Peleliu on Sept. 17, 1944.
The division Marines were so influenced by their Australian mates that they adopted a traditional Australian folk song ‘Waltzing Matilda’ to be their battle hymn. This song is still played as the division Marines deploy.
One Australian unit commemorated its shared history with the Corps by incorporating the 1st Marine Division logo into its patch. Although just a symbol, this patch represents years of alliance that continue to this day.
Australian forces have fought and continue to fight alongside Marines in Afghanistan and Iraq in the fight against terrorism. The deploying of Marines to Australia will continue to build the alliance between America and Australia as well as between Marines and their Australian mates.
Prime Minister Gillard and President Obama Announce Force Posture Initiatives: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/16/prime-minister-gillard-and-president-obama-announce-force-posture-init-0
Remarks by President Obama and Prime Minister Gillard of Australia in Joint Press Conference: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/11/16/remarks-president-obama-and-prime-minister-gillard-australia-joint-press
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