During the major Japan-US Exercise ANNUALEX, the crew of HMAS Hobart spared a minute to reflect on those that sacrificed their lives in the very waters they sailed.
Working in company with HMAS Parramatta along with Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force (JMSDF), Royal Canadian Navy (RCN) and United States Navy (USN) ships, Hobart and Parramatta are two of eleven vessels and four helicopters participating in the Royal Australian Navy’s East Asian Deployment .
In the midst of the high-tempo JMSDF-led Exercise ANNUALEX, Hobart held a heartfelt ceremony of remembrance led by Commanding Officer, Commander Ryan Gaskin.
The remembrance ceremony is steeped in history and stems from 100 years ago, when King George V held the first Armistice Day memorial at Buckingham Palace. This evolved into the ceremony we now hold all over Australia and across the world.
With a stunning backdrop of Japanese, Canadian and US warships, the crew of Hobart gathered on the flight deck where Commander Gaskin’s address to the crew was followed by a brief bible verse read by Lieutenant Jacob Hepner.
“Remembrance Day recognises the sacrifices made by all personnel during times of conflict, both past and present,” Lieutenant Jacob Hepner said.
“Many of us have recently seen the scars of war left behind in Japan and Korea - it is a sombre reminder of why we serve.
“It generates a great appreciation of the liberties that we so readily take for granted, and for those that gave their lives to defend them.”
Commander of the Maritime Task Group, Captain Andrew Quinn and Commander Ryan Gaskin then laid two wreaths, honouring the men and women who have since perished in the line of duty.
Able Seaman Maritime Logistics Stores Frank Cook recited The Sailor’s Ode.
“Reading the ode in front of the whole crew, surrounded by coalition ships, was a significant moment for me on this trip,” he said.
“The importance of our mission and the success of this Task Group was felt by everyone here today.”
The solemn ceremony concluded with a prayer from Chief Petty Officer Michael Baruch for our fellow service members deployed around the world.
Hobart’s participation in multilateral exercises in the East Asia region supports the Maritime Task Group’s aim of fostering maritime relations with our allies in Asia and cementing Australia’s reputation as a capable and reliable regional partner.
Hobart’s crew continues to uphold the tradition of naval military service and sacrifice by participating in exercises designed to ensure that we, in company with our partners, continue to build the interoperability required for any situation that may arise.
Remembering our fallen, in the midst of a large exercise, has inspired the crew to continue on the rest of the East Asia Deployment 2019 with pride.
Hobart is a long range Air Warfare Destroyer, presently deployed to East Asia to strengthen Australia’s existing relationships and demonstrate our commitment to the rules based global order.