Royal Australian Air Force personnel who work jointly with Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons division personnel in Point Mugu, California, salute during an Anzac Day ceremony held April 23. From left to right are Jenelle Fletcher, Sergeant Peter Fitzgibbins, Squadron Leader Stephen Jones, Flight Sergeant Jason Savage, and Sergeant Michael Whaley. (U.S. Navy photo by Kayla Herrera-Roth)

NAWCWD joins RAAF partners in Anzac Day service at Point Mugu

On April 23, a breezy, overcast Tuesday, military and civilian members of the U.S. Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force gathered on the beach at Naval Base Ventura County Point Mugu in Southern California, to jointly commemorate Anzac Day.

Anzac Day, officially recognized on April 25, marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during World War I. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the shores of Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, for what should have been a swift strike and instead became an 8-month battle in which 8,000 Anzacs died. Anzac Day is now a day of national remembrance.

“Anzac Day is one of Australia’s most important national occasions,” said RAAF Squadron Leader Stephen Jones, Australian Operations Foreign Liaison Officer and Officer-in-Charge of RAAF Mission Data Support at Point Mugu. “On Anzac Day, we Australians mark the landings in Gallipoli … and commemorate all Australian personnel who have served and died in wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations.”

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division’s Airborne Electronic Attack Integrated Product Team joined Jones and his contingent on the sand to honor the fallen. AEA IPT has been collaborating with their RAAF counterparts at Point Mugu since 2009, and for the last 10 years, RAAF uniformed service members have been stationed full-time at Point Mugu.

“Our long history of close collaboration strengthens the bond between our nations, advancing our joint commitment to safeguarding liberty and defending the shared values that define our way of life,” said David Mohler, AEA IPT’s International Programs lead. This year was his first Anzac Day commemoration, and the similarities to Memorial Day drove home just how close the two nations are.

“Experiencing Anzac Day for the first time underscored the profound reverence Australians hold for their service members and the sacrifices they make. For me, it emphasized the deep-rooted sense of duty and remembrance that binds our forces together, fostering a deeper appreciation for the enduring mateship between us,” he explained.

Jones noted that as someone who gets to experience the freedoms and opportunities offered him, it’s important to remember that freedom comes at a cost. Anzac Day is a time to reflect on that price, and to honor the courageous and generous people who paid it. Sharing that moment of reflection, and that sense of indebtedness, with RAAF and U.S. Navy partners is important, he said.

“What a great pleasure it is to commemorate Anzac Day here at Point Mugu. It is important for us to acknowledge and embrace each other’s cultures, and I am very grateful for the support provided by the AEA IPT in joining with us to honor the service and sacrifice of those that have fought for our collective freedom.”

Calling the Australia-United States Alliance “Australia’s single most important defense relationship,” Jones stressed how cultural exchanges like the Anzac Day service can help both nations better understand one another, strengthening partnerships.

“Australia and the U.S. have genuine cultural affinity and a spirit of collaboration. We share values and ideals, and our alliance is underpinned by mutual respect for each other’s sovereignty and national interests,” he said.

“Through our collaborative work at Point Mugu, we are making greater contributions to collective deterrence, as well as to regional and global stability.”



Royal Australian Air Force Squadron Leader Stephen Jones speaks during an Anzac Day ceremony held April 23 in Point Mugu, California. (U.S. Navy photo by Rob Grabendike)

Naval Air Warfare Center Weapons Division employees participate in an Anzac Day ceremony held April 23 at in Point Mugu, California. (U.S. Navy photo by Kayla Rob Grabendike)

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