CREW members of the Australia frigate the HMAS Ballarat last week took part in a memorial service to pay respects to the hundreds of thousands who died in the Pacific War.
Alongside members of the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force the Ballarat stopped off the coast of Okinawa, Japan for the special ceremony recognising the dead of the 82-day-long Battle of Okinawa in 1945.
More than 100,000 Japanese, and 65,000 allied soldiers, sailors and airmen, mostly from the United States, were lost during the battle and tens of thousands of local civilians were also killed.
The Ballarat is in Japan conducting Exercise Pacific Bond with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and the United States Navy.
Ballarat’s Commanding Officer, Commander Jonathan Earley, said the opportunity to reflect on the past reminded his crew of how far the three nations had come.
“We’re here in Japan to reinforce the strong relationships we have with the Japanese Maritime Self Defence Force and the US Navy, and to ensure our navies can work together to achieve missions such as the counter-piracy activities we’re conducting in the Gulf of Aden.
“Looking back on the sad events of the past, we can be very proud of the progress we’ve made over the last 67 years, and of the strong friendships we have today,” he said.
Ballarat will spend the weekend in Okinawa, before setting sail for Guam and returning to Sydney at the end of the month.