Obama receives rapturous NT send-off
Doug Conway, AAP Senior Correspondent, AAP November 17, 2011, 7:30 pm
President Barack Obama praised Australian troops as among the toughest in the world as a rapturous send-off from Darwin capped off his whirlwind Australian visit.
The US commander in chief was greeted like a rock star when he appeared with Prime Minister Julia Gillard at Darwin's RAAF base on Thursday.
An estimated 2,000 troops gave him a standing ovation when he arrived and again when he left to board Air Force One bound for Bali and the East Asian summit.
The president's fondness for all things Australian was clear as he greeted his audience in a giant aircraft hangar with the words: "Hello everybody, how are you going?"
He then led the troops in a chant of "Aussie Aussie Aussie" and said, "I enjoyed that. You are all true blue."
He said he was proud to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the ANZUS alliance and couldn't think of a better group to do it with.
"You are the backbone of our countries, some of the toughest people in the world," he said.
Americans and Australians had stood together since World War I, he said, but in a sense Darwin was where the alliance was born.
It was the scene of Australia's own Pearl Harbour, when the city was bombed by Japanese planes in February 1942.
"Against the odds we fought back. We picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off and rebuilt," he said, going on to score decisive victories in the battle of the Coral Sea, Midway and Milne Bay.
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