As Prepared Remarks
Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Mike M. Gilday
Good morning. Vice Admiral Noonan, distinguished guests, welcome to the Washington Navy Yard. We are honored by your presence here, and to stand together as allies, partners, and indeed friends.
In July, we will mark the 102nd anniversary of the Battle of Hamel in France during World War I, marking more than a century of mateship - more than a century of Americans and Australians standing together in times of challenge and conflict. And we’ve stood together in every conflict since.
Our ever-deepening relationship, marked by common values, mutual interests, and a shared outlook brings us together not only as navies, but as entire societies. We are deeply saddened by the recent wildfires in Australia; however, we hope the Australian people take comfort in the fact that they do not face them alone. Just as Australians came to help battle wildfires in the Western United States in 2018, American firefighters are proud to work alongside Australians again to save life and property today in New South Wales, Victoria, and elsewhere. We are saddened by the loss of Paul Hudson, a Naval Academy graduate from the Class of 1999, who was first officer of a C-130 tanker helping to fight the blazes. But his sacrifice was not in vain, and his willingness to risk himself is emblematic of our commitment to the Australian people - a commitment that will never flag and never waver.
We are proud to share a commitment to stability in the Indo-Pacific. Australia has a central role in cultivating that stability, which you so clearly articulated in your Navy Strategy 2022, Plan PELORUS. Your commitment to a thinking Navy and a fighting Navy for Australia is on a parallel course with ours and we’re grateful for your inspired leadership toward these goals.
And our shared goals translate into robust outcomes on the seas themselves. Talisman Sabre 2019, our premier military engagement, exemplified our enduring military relationship and leveraged the talent of 34,000 military personnel from Australia and the United States and deepened ties with other allies and partners across the region. We are looking forward to the next iteration in 2021. And we are excited to continue our partnership in employing the Aegis Combat System. We look forward to seeing HMAS SYDNEY (DDG 42) commission in a few months.
We are excited for the future and are honored to work with the Royal Australian Navy around the world to preserve free and open seas. This excitement is tempered by an understanding of some of the challenges we face, but we can face them with confidence, drawing on our long history of shared sacrifice, shared success, and shared prosperity.
Admiral Noonan, you are always welcome on the Washington Navy Yard. It is our privilege to honor your visit here today. Thank you very much!
Admiral Michael M. Gilday
07 February 2020
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