U.S. Sailors Join Perth's ANZAC Day March
PERTH, Australia - Twenty-eight Sailors assigned to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and squadrons from embarked Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17 spent their second morning in Perth, Australia on parade in the city's Australia and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day March.
"I volunteered because I wanted to see the different militaries and represent my Navy in another country," said Engineman 1st Class Robert Flores.
ANZAC Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand to honor those who died and served in military operations for their countries.
"It's our biggest day for the military in Australia," said Trooper Mark Marotta, a parade participant assigned to the Australian Army's 10th Light Horse Regiment. "It's steeped in tradition, basically we honor the fallen 'Diggers,' the Australians who fought in World War I on the shores of Gallipoli. It's a tradition that started in 1915 when the ANZAC went ashore and has continued up to this day."
The Carl Vinson and CVW-17 Sailors received a warm welcome from the crowd and their Australian military counterparts as they marched in their dress white uniforms through downtown streets packed with spectators waving Australian flags.
"The crowd was constantly cheering, clapping, and taking a lot of photos," said Chief Intelligence Specialist Dwayne Edmond. "You could definitely tell when we walked by. I could see the parents telling their kids 'Hey that's the U.S. Navy passing through.' We were pointed out by everyone and they all seemed extremely happy that we were here."
"I've marched in Veteran's Day parades before and this felt more like fleet week," said Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Tyler Reader, assigned to Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 15. "There was a lot of crowd participation. It was a lot of fun and I was surprised by the reaction of the people who came out to see the parade."
For the Sailors who marched, being received so warmly while representing their country's military to citizens of another country was a welcome boost after nearly five months deployed in support of operations in the U.S. 7th and U.S. 5th Fleet areas of responsibility.
Carl Vinson is currently anchored in Perth, Australia for a port visit.