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The band performed in the Queensland cities of Townsville, Cardwell, Brisbane, and Surfers Paradise. Each city was host to performances from the 7th Fleet Band’s Ceremonial Band, as well as public concerts from the Pacific Ambassadors.
“To be here for the 80th commemoration of the Battle of the Coral Sea is very significant,” said Chief Musician Anthony Smouse, leading chief petty officer for the 7th Fleet Band. “To be able to experience the community and comradery with our Australian counterparts has been very gratifying to us during this trip.”
The commemoration services featured veterans, active-duty senior leadership, and public officials from both the U.S. and Australia, all acknowledging the importance of the Battle of the Coral Sea and the U.S.-Australian alliance.
“We commemorate these events because, often times, when reading about them and learning about them second-hand, we lose perspective for the real impact they had on people,” said Lt. Matthew H. Anderson, 7th Fleet bandmaster. “Many of those who fought heroically, or who played a part, are no longer with us. It’s important to keep their stories alive and honor them. As they say here in Australia, ‘Lest We Forget.’”
During the commemoration ceremonies, the Ceremonial Band was able to perform alongside their counterparts from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) Band Queensland, as well as one concert with the Surfers Paradise Brass Band.
“There is a special bond and kinship between those who serve in military bands that extends all around the world,” said Anderson. “We have performed alongside the RAN Band many times over the years, and in fact, the bandmaster for the RAN Band Queensland, Mike Vaughn, and I played alongside one another 15 years ago for these same commemorations. That bond, and these relationships, last a lifetime – and I believe represent the U.S.-Australia partnership well beyond musical endeavors.”
“It’s great to have the 7th Fleet Band here with us,” said Chief Petty Officer Mike Vaughan, bandmaster for the RAN Band Queensland. “I met with some of them back in 2007, so it’s nice to have them back. The U.S.-Australian partnership is as strong as it’s ever been, and it shows through our engagements today.”
In between the ceremonies and public concert events, the members of the 7th Fleet Band were able to enjoy some liberty and explore Queensland.
“Australia is such a beautiful country with so much to offer for visitors,” said Musician 3rd Class Kevin Clancy, a trombonist in the 7th Fleet Band. “From hiking trails to snorkeling near reefs, it was definitely a great experience. I can’t wait to come back.”
The U.S. 7th Fleet Band is one of 11 U.S. Navy Fleet Bands, and provides musical support for ships, military bases, foreign dignitaries, and many community relations events throughout the Western Pacific.
The U.S. 7th Fleet Band was created in 1948, shortly after the U.S. 7th Fleet’s establishment in 1943. The Band has performed for millions of people throughout the Indo-Pacific region. The band is forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan, and embarks aboard USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19), flagship for the U.S. 7th Fleet, during patrols and deployments. The band also conducts theater security cooperation engagements on behalf of the U.S. Navy with partners and allies across the region.
Under Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, 7th Fleet is the U.S. Navy’s largest forward-deployed numbered fleet, and routinely interacts and operates with 35 maritime nations in preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
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