Since July 4, 1918, U.S. troops have fought alongside Australian forces in every major conflict, including both Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. This year is extra special, as the U.S. and Australia celebrate 100 years of mateship — a quintessential Australian word that neatly captures the loyalty, friendship, trust and sacrifice of being mates.
Forged Under Fire
Australia–U.S. relations began in the World War I trenches. The upcoming Fourth of July marks the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Hamel and the first non-U.S. command of American troops in battle. Under Australian Gen. Sir John Monash, the combined troops captured the town of Hamel in northern France in just 93 minutes while pushing back the German offensive line, according to HistoryNet.
The History Channel pointed to the Battle of Hamel as the first time battle tanks and aircraft were used to provide supplies and ammunition to troops. Monash was lauded for his success, and soldiers from both sides received medals and recognition for their bravery.
A History of Mutual Respect
Combined military actions fostered mutual respect between the two forces. During World War II, Australian and U.S. troops fought together in the Asia-Pacific theater. The History Channel reports that during the Battle of Mount Tambu, Australian stretcher bearer Leslie “Bull” Allen single-handedly carried 12 injured U.S. soldiers to safety. For his bravery and inspiration, he was awarded the U.S. Silver Star.
Photo Source: Wikipedia/Gordon Herbert Short
U.S. troops also protected northern Australia from Japanese invasion, according to Aerotech News. U.S. naval action, supported by Australian naval intelligence in the Battle of the Coral Sea, diminished the Japanese naval threat when many Australian troops were fighting in Europe, as noted by the Pacific Aviation Museum.
Following WWII, the U.S. and Australia formalized their unique relationship with the ANZUS Treaty in 1951, pledging support to one another if under attack. The treaty was first invoked by Australia in the aftermath of 9/11. The US Department of State maintains that Australia–U.S. relations “enhance the stability and resiliency of the Asia-Pacific region.”
Cmdr. Andrew Burnett of the Royal Australian Navy acknowledged that 100 years of mateship goes beyond military action for these two countries. The Commonwealth’s first accredited foreign diplomat was sent to the U.S. in 1940; nine years later, Australia and the United States signed a treaty establishing the Fulbright program in Australia, an educational partnership between the two countries that allows U.S. students to study in Australia and vice versa.
Since 2004, the U.S. has officially recognized trade with Australia with a Free Trade Agreement, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.
Celebrating 100 Years of Mateship
The U.S. State Department describes Australia as “a vital ally, partner, and friend of the United States,” while Australia and the U.S. “maintain a robust relationship underpinned by shared democratic values, common interests, and cultural affinities.”
Northrop Grumman’s presence Down Under is the perfect example of continued military support between the two countries, working with the Royal Australian Navy, the Australian Army and the Royal Australian Air Force in a variety of programs.
The U.S. and Australia have shared a unique diplomatic and strategic partnership for 100 years — a worthy cause for celebration.