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75th Anniversary Battle of the Coral Sea Commemorative Dinner

Thursday, May 11, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Melanie Chiew
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On Thursday, May 4, 2017 the American Australian Association in conjunction with the Australian Embassy and Northrop Grumman Corporation, hosted a Commemorative Dinner in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of the Coral Sea. The dinner also served as the backdrop to the first official meeting between the President of the United States and Prime Minister of Australia.

Though both the President and Prime Minister were both in attendance, the guests of honor and biggest stars of the night were the eight American and Australia veterans who fought heroically at the Battle of the Coral Sea and in the Pacific Theater during WWII.  The Association was extremely proud to honor the service of Derek Holyoake, Bill White and Gordon Johnson (HMAS Hobart); Norm Tame and RADM Andrew Robertson (HMAS Australia); and Wendell Thrasher, John Hancock, and Roger Spooner (USS Yorktown CV-5). The gratitude and deep respect for these brave war heroes and their fallen comrades was evident from the evening’s speakers and their every mention was met with rousing applause from the audience.

The retired aircraft carrier Intrepid, now a Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City provided the perfect setting to commemorate the 75th anniversary to the day, of the first ever naval engagement where opposing sides remained entirely out of visual range, but which demonstrated how critical naval aviation would be in the future of warfare. 

A notable who’s who from both America and Australia attended and included Rupert Murdoch AC, Frank Lowy AC, Wes Bush, Andrew Liveris AO, Anthony Pratt, Gina Rinehart, Leigh Clifford AO, Greg Norman AO, John Travolta, Mike Wirth, Robert Thomson, Geoffrey Bible and Denis Hickey among many others.

The evening’s program featured speeches from the President and Prime Minister who celebrated the 100-year partnership between the two great nations; as well as a video with each of the veterans, and a chronicle of the Battle and its importance in turning the tide of the Pacific campaign.   

Thanks to the generous support of the evening’s single largest donor Anthony Pratt and major sponsors Lindsay Fox, Northrop Grumman Corporation, Chevron, Qantas Airways, Geoff Bible, Boeing, Dow Chemical Company, Lendlease Westfield, JP Morgan, News Corp and Lockheed Martin among many others, the dinner successfully launched the Association’s new American – Australian Veterans’ Scholarship Fund.

To help close out the night, guests were treated to special renditions commemorating the evening from Australian country music stars Amber Lawrence and Beccy Cole, and American Idol winner Kellie Pickler.  

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