WRIGHT PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE — Members of the Royal Australian Air Force based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base hosted Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day on April 25th at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force Memorial Gardens. The day marks not only the day that ANZAC troops landed at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915, but also the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand soldiers, sailors and airmen have made not only in defending their country, but also in upholding their nations’ longstanding commitment to peace and security.
The morning ceremony took place from 8 a.m. in the Memorial gardens, and was followed by a ‘gunfire’ breakfast hosted by members of the Royal Australian Air Force and their families. The breakfast features hot black coffee laced with Australian rum. This tradition is thought to have developed well before WW1 as a form of Dutch courage prior to an early morning attack.
The act of remembrance was attended by Director Air Force Security Assistance and Cooperation Directorate (AFSAC), Brig Gen Gregory Gutterman, former mayor of Beavercreek and council member Brian Jarvis, representatives of more than 20 countries from the international community based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, U.S. Military and civilians and local Australians and New Zealanders.
At dawn on April 25, 1915 ANZAC troops surged ashore at the foot of the rugged cliffs on the Dardanelles peninsula, Turkey, to open a campaign that was intended to give allied shipping access to the Black Sea. Australian Wing Commander (Lt Col) Andy State presented the address at the event. He stated: “To Australians ANZAC Day is more than just a national holiday; it is a fundamental Australian tradition. Wherever Australians or New Zealanders are found it is likely that an ANZAC service is taking place. Such is the feeling we have for April 25th.”
Every April 25 Australians and New Zealanders at home and abroad gather to commemorate not only those soldiers who died on that day in 1915, but all current men and women of the Australian Defence Force. “The achievements (of the ANZACS) set standards that inspired their countrymen for generations to follow. The legends they established gave fresh new feelings of national pride to both young nations. For Australians and New Zealanders ANZAC is our own day.” State continued. “Our freedom, and that of generations to come, survives only as long as people are willing to defend it” he concluded. Turkish Air Force Captain Arif Deniz read words that are inscribed on a memorial at ANZAC Cove, Turkey: “Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives; you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace.”
The service included the singing of the Australian national anthem, a laying of wreaths ceremony by Squadron Leader Simon Resch, Captain Arif Deniz and Squadron Leader Genevieve Briars-Somes, followed by children in attendance laying poppies below the wreaths. Master Sgt Mike Richter performed The Last Post and Reveille, and Fr Donald Moss offered a prayer of remembrance. Wing Commander Brent Smith was Master of Ceremonies.
Story courtesy of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.