ANZACs and Allies

We have always been great allies with America be it through trade, politics or war, and with ANZAC Day being next week we wanted to take a moment and honour just how special that history of friendship has been.

For this subject we’re pleased to have a Guest Contributor that has not only lived on both continents but is one of very few military personnel to have served for both America and Australia not via inter-service transfer. Former Private Erik Bibaeff has served in both the US Navy (4 years) and Australian Army (5 years) during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Slipper. He shares with us a little about how our two great countries have and continue to, work side by side.

Australians have fought alongside Americans in every major US military action of the last century, including World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf, Somalia, East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.

We first fought together at the Battle of Hamel in France in July of 1918 under the command of one of Australia’s most revered military leaders, General Sir John Monash. This was marked last year by both countries in what they called “The First 100 Years of Mateship”. It was a really special celebration for both countries.

In 1951 America, Australia and New Zealand formalised our relationship in what is called the ANZUS Treaty; it was an agreement to protect the security of the South Pacific. See, when World War II began, because Australia and New Zealand were members of the British Empire, when Britain entered the war so did Australia and New Zealand.

For the first time in our history Australia and New Zealand were under direct threat of an attack. And the attack came, in the form of over 100 air raids from the Japanese in 1942 and 1943 the worst of which, as we know, was The Bombing of Darwin.

The Bombing of Darwin on 19th February 1942 was the single largest attack ever mounted by a foreign power on Australia and along with at least 243 Australian lives, there were at least 10 US sailors from the USS William B Preston killed as well.

It was after the Darwin bombing and the preceding fall of Singapore (which was also a British colony at the time) that Australia and New Zealand realised that the British Government had their hands full with the war in Europe and weren’t able to focus on protecting their other colonies. They began to look to the United States to help ensure their safety and security.

Since then, Australian and American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and women have served alongside one another in every theatre of war.

Today, US marines are stationed in Darwin and will be every year until 2040 under the terms of the force posture agreement between the USA and Australia.  We also have servicemen and women working together in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.

Just last year The Prime Minister of Australia met with United States President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss an Australia-United States partnership for the 21st Century, including how we can strengthen our economic links to create more jobs, and expand our national security cooperation.

America and Australia’s deep and enduring bond, mutual respect and close co-operation exists today not only because of our history together but because of our similar hopes and dreams for the future ahead.

Erik Bibaeff

For those of you in Darwin for ANZAC Day you can see information on Commemoration Events here.

For other cities and states you can find information on services near you here.

There are also many ANZAC Day services and events in the USA so if you’re currently located in America click here.

Lest We Forget.

The Slappa’s Team

PS. We are very excited this year to announce that Slappa’s Thongs will soon be available on Amazon.com in the United States of America!