Australia Celebrates 100 Years of 'Mateship' with U.S.

Sep 21, 2018

The HMAS Hobart docked alongside the USS Wayne E. Meyer at Pearl Harbor.
Credit Ryan Finnerty

This summer marked the 100th Anniversary of the first time American and Australian troops fought together on the battlefield. What began as an alliance of necessity in the trenches of Europe has evolved into a strategic partnership that spans the Indo-Pacific.

American and Australian stretcher bearers at the battle of Hamel.
Credit Australian War Memorial

That friendship began in the trenches of Europe outside the town of Le Hamel, France. What unfolded has been called the first modern battle. In the summer of 1918 Allied forces from Australia, Britain, and the United States attacked German positions around Le Hamel in Northern France.

The Battle of Hamel marked the first time that tanks, infantry, artillery, and even aircraft were all used in perfectly coordinated unison; a revolutionary concept now known as combined arms.

Australian and American troops dug in at Hamel.
Credit Australian War Memorial

Hamel was also the first time that American and Australian troops ever fought together.  Joe Hockey, Australian Ambassador to United States, was in Hawaii this week to celebrate what Australians call mateship.

Hockey told HPR that Australia and the United States are bonded by history and shared values. He also believes that American leadership in the Indo-Pacific is imperative now more than ever.