Each year on April 25, the anniversary of the 1915 landings on the Turkish peninsula of Gallipoli by Australian and New Zealand Army Corps troops is commemorated. Typically a day of gathering and remembrance, Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day will be observed differently this year, but its significance will never diminish. Every year, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific hosts an ANZAC Day commemoration, which includes a wreath laying by Ambassador Jane Hardy, Australia’s Consul-General in Hawaii, and often other ceremonial performances. This year, however, the ceremony is postponed until a later date.
Each year, Schofield Barracks’ 25th Infantry Division stands with its Australian and New Zealand allies to commemorate ANZAC Day and recognize the sacrifices that Australian and New Zealand service personnel have made not only in defending their countries, but in upholding their longstanding commitment to peace and security. ANZAC Day is globally recognized as a day of remembrance for Australians and New Zealanders who have served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping missions around the world.
This year, ANZAC Day will be like no other – apart, but together as one. The theme in Australia for this year’s remembrance is “mateship,” which is particularly significant to Soldiers and veterans of the Tropic Lightning Division, who fought alongside our New Zealand mates in Vella Lavella during World War II. During that battle, fought from August to October 1943, New Zealand’s 3rd Division got its first taste of action against the Japanese Imperial Army and the New Zealand 14th Brigade eventually cleared the island of the enemy. The conditions were difficult, with heavy rain and thick jungle, but the operation was achieved with the loss of only 34 New Zealanders. Casualties during the initial landing amounted to 12 killed and 50 wounded for the Americans. “Mateship” embodies equality, loyalty, and friendship, which are all elements at the core of the 25th Infantry Division’s relationship with its New Zealand and Australian allies.
As such, the 25th Infantry Division has had the opportunity to participate in many military exercises with the Australian Army and its Deputy Commanding Officer for Interoperability is a New Zealand officer, two long-running traditions that demonstrate its commitment to two critical allies in the Indo-Pacific region. "Like for a lot of New Zealanders, ANZAC Day is an opportunity to remember and acknowledge the sacrifice of my Tipuna, or in English those in my family who served before me," said Col. William Keelan, Deputy Commanding Officer for Interoperability, 25th Infantry Division. "Because I am a servicemen it also gives me the opportunity to remember those who I have served with, who are no longer with us," said Keelan.
The 25th Infantry Division may not be able to participate physically in a remembrance ceremony to commemorate this year’s ANZAC Day, but its relationship with its Australian and New Zealand allies is stronger than ever. Australian and New Zealand service personnel who have fought and died for the values that all of our countries share, are remembered today, and every day.
Lest we forget.