DARWIN, Australia (April 25, 2011) Sailors from the mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) march in the ANZAC Day Parade. (U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Michael Burling)

DARWIN, Australia — The mine countermeasures ship USS Guardian (MCM 5) visited Darwin, Australia, April 22 – 28, and participated in ceremonies in commemoration of ANZAC Day.

On April 25 the crew marched in their dress whites along with members from the various branches of the Australian military in the annual parade celebrating Anzac Day.

Australians mark April 25, the date of the first landings at Gallipoli of the World War I, as ANZAC Day, a time for memorial tributes to their 50,000 countrymen who fought there, as more than 8,000 died. Guardian’s Commanding Officer Lt. Cmdr. Kenneth Brown, attended a dawn service ceremony commemorating the day’s 96th anniversary.

“This service was one of the most moving I have ever experienced,” said Brown. “It was a crowd of 6,000 strong, coming together to celebrate the heroes of the past and the warriors of the present.

“All Australians and Territorians readily identify with the sacrifice of so many and it was an event which will remain with me for the rest of my life,” Brown added.

Guardian’s Sailors said they were happy to participate in an event honoring such sacrifices.

Interior Communications Electrician Technician 3rd Class Thomas Warble said the experience was also a great cultural exchange for the crew on board Guardian.

“It was a fun experience,” Warble said. “After marching in the parade, the Australians were very outgoing. Everyone was curious to know our views on their holiday. We also had the opportunity to take pictures with many of them.

“We also gave a few Australian Sailors a tour of the ship and took a tour of theirs,” Warble added.

During the visit, Guardian’s Sailors experienced Australia’s culture and were able to see several sights and pick up traditional Australian souvenirs including Aboriginal works of art, unique instruments such as the didgeridoo, outback-style hats, and boomerangs. Tours included trips to Kakadu National Park, Litchfield Waterfalls and several zoo-like features with the opportunity to see crocodiles.

Guardian is currently on patrol in the 7th Fleet area of responsibility.