American Australian Association President, John Berry recently spent 2 weeks in Australia to connect with many of our partners and friends across the nation. He also took this opportunity to stock up on all his beloved Aussie snacks making him very popular upon his return to the New York City office! See just a few highlights of his trip below.
Our President, Amb. John Berry goes down under!
On July 22, USS Canberra became the first U.S. Navy vessel to be commissioned outside the United States.
The USS Canberra (LCS-30), an Austal USA-built Littoral Combat Ship, is the second US ship named for Australia’s capital. It honors the bravery and sacrifice of HMAS Canberra (I) on August 9, 1942 during the Battle of Savo Island.
American Australian Association President John Berry was honored to attend the ceremonial commissioning in Sydney. He shared a personal reflection on this historic event:
“The original HMS Canberra took 20 torpedoes in the Battle of Savo Island and was eventually scuttled after saving the ships bell. That battle and Her loss were very important because they allowed the US Marine Corps 1st Division to safely land and dig in at Guadalcanal, thereby opening the offensive land war in the Pacific in WWII.
My father was in the 1st Division at Guadalcanal, and without the original Canberra’s efforts, I may never have been born. The Chief of US Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Gilday, stood with me in honor of both the brave men lost aboard the original Canberra and my father’s historic Division’s fight at Guadalcanal in front of the original bell of the HMS Canberra, which presided front and center at today’s commissioning.”
FDR named a U.S. ship the second Canberra in the original’s honor, and today, the third Canberra set sail in defense of freedom – the first US ship ever commissioned outside of the USA.
One last point: when the 1st Marine Division was relieved at Guadalcanal, and they arrived in Melbourne for R&R before fighting their way through Indonesia alongside brave Aussies towards Japan, they were welcomed with the “she’ll be right” song Waltzing Matilda when they arrived in Melbourne’s harbor. The sacrifice of lives aboard the original Canberra on their behalf and the courage of the Australians that they had fought alongside, along with the good they found in Australian hearts, has been cemented ever since in the official fight song the 1st Marine Division, which has been and always will be – Waltzing Matilda!
Our Alliance is so much more than words and treaties. Its foundation is our shared love of freedom and our profound appreciation that freedom is worthy of our best and bravest efforts. Thank God for the men and women who have given us each the chance to pass freedom’s torch forward burning brightly. Thank God for their service and sacrifice. And here is the best news: The sailors I met today are just as committed as those of my father’s generation. Long May it be so!”
On July 27 2023, the 70th anniversary of the Armistice ending the Korean War, a new Korean War Memorial was dedicated in Kings Park in WA, City of Perth.
The memorial was made from the rock of the battlefield where brave Australians, Americans and Koreans defended and preserved Seoul. Association President John Berry was honored to attend the ceremony. Lest we forget.
To finish up, President John Berry concluded his trip with a productive week in Perth, connecting with many friends and partners of the American Australian Association.
He was honored to give a keynote address at Perth USAsia Centre and join the Hon Kim Beazley AC for a special conversation on the US-Australia Alliance, developments in the bilateral relationship and what’s in store with the 2024 Presidential Election.