Saturday, April 30, 2011

Some of the Reasons I Love the Aussies

There is an old story that back in early 1942, the US first marine division was sent to Australia to prepare for the invasion of the Guada Canal. Since a great many Australian army units were still in North Africa, and the Australians quite understandably feared Japanese invasion, they gave the marines quite a welcome. Indeed, the month after the marines left Australia, the division’s postal clerks discovered a clear majority of both incoming and outgoing mail was either from or to Australia. I think that’s quite a tribute to Australian hospitality. Since one of my readers grew up in Melbourne, here’s a story I think she’ll appreciate, especially if she knows anybody in Brisbane: After the end of the Guada Canal campaign, the fist marine division was sent to Brisbane. Apparently the marines were not particularly impressed. Indeed some of them found the climate and location so displeasing they asked to be sent back to the Guada Canal. Somehow the higher-ups decided the situation was safe enough for them to be relocated to Melbourne, which went over very well indeed.

During my time in the US Navy, I heard the saying amongst American sailors that if you lead a good life, when you die, you will get to go to Australia. Once while teaching onboard a US Navy ship, we pulled into Panang, Malaysia and I got to talking with an Australian lady of a certain age old enough to have vivid memories of the spring of 1942. When she learned that I had some connection with the US navy, I got the impression that she figured I was personally responsible for winning the battle of the Coral Sea and saving the country from Japanese invasion. I have not yet managed to make it to the land down under, but I can honestly say I have never made an Ozzie I didn’t likem and I’ve met quite a few. Any country that can produce Elle McPherson, Nicole Kidman, Naomi Watts, and Rebecca Hassock is clearly **not** to be taken lightly.

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