From: Brendan Nicholson
Sent: Tuesday, July 19, 2016 11:28
To: Goodman, Meghan Hays K. EOP/OVP
Subject: Pool Copy
From Brendan Nicholson, Defence Editor of The Australian newspaper.
The United States is a Pacific power and its in the region to stay, Vice President Joe Biden declared in Sydney today.
Mr Biden told the crew of the Australian warship, HMAS Adelaide, Australia was a wonderful ally and US service person had huge respect for the Australians they had fought with in many campaigns over the past century.
"They know the Aussies will always have their backs - and we will always have your backs," Mr Biden said.
On the the flight deck of one of the Royal Australian Navy's giant new landing ships in Sydney Harbour today, Mr Biden said American troops spoke of Aussie grit "and the fact you never, never leave anybody behind".
"Thank you, thank you, thank you," the Vice President told the ADF contingent which included the crew and veterans of Australia's Middle East campaigns.
At 28,000 tonnes, the LHD, or Landing Helicopter Dock, HMAS Adelaide, and its sister ship, HMAS Canberra, are the biggest vessels ever operated by Australia's navy, bigger even than its past aircraft carriers.
Mr Biden said the "incredible" ship was evidence of the critical increase Australia was making in its defence capability. With 12 new submarines and 72 Joint Strike Fighters, Australia would maintain a cutting edge military, he said.
Australia had always been a reliable Ally, Mr Biden said.
Now it would be one of America's most advanced allies.
HMAS Canberra, the Navy's flagship, is off Hawaii taking part in the massive RIMPAC naval exercise where it has just disembarked a contingent of US marines.
The two ships can each carry over 1000 fully equipped troops and are among the world's most capable and sophisticated systems for delivering power from the sea,
It is intended that the ships will work closely with US forces, including the Marine Rotational Force stationed at Darwin.
Vice President Biden toured the ship with ADF chief Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin, Rear Admiral Michael Noonan, Deputy Chief of Navy; and Adelaide's commanding office, Captain Paul Mandziy.
(Brendan Nicholson is contactable on +61 (0) 417 528 254 or firstname.lastname@example.org )
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