NORFOLK - Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) Dam Neck Activity joined local military commands and NATO allies in commemorating Australian and New Zealand Air Corps (ANZAC) Day at the Gen. Douglas MacArthur Memorial, April 25.
On that date in 1915, Australian and New Zealand soldiers formed part of the allied expedition that fought to take Gallipoli in World War I. They became known as 'Anzacs' and the date is celebrated in a similar way to the United States' Memorial Day.
NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity Commanding Officer Cmdr. Andrew J. Hoffman and Australian exchange officer Lt. Cmdr. Chris Davidson, Royal Australian Navy, led Dam Neck's contingent at the dawn service, which included a video, readings and a talk about the connection between Gen. MacArthur and Australia, where the general regrouped America's Pacific strategy during the beginning of WWII.
"This is my third year in a row attending the ANZAC Day dawn service at the MacArthur Memorial," said Hoffman. "The service provides a solemn connection to not only our allied partners today, but to soldiers from past conflicts. Our mutual strength over the past 100 years is a testament to our amazing network of partners. The ANZAC Day motto of 'Lest we Forget' reminds us of the ultimate sacrifice that many paid, around the globe, for our freedoms today. We must remember them."
On the morning of April 25, 1915, the Anzacs set out to capture the Gallipoli peninsula in order to open the Dardanelle Straits to allied navies. They met fierce resistance from the Ottoman Turkish defenders and the eight-month campaign ended in a stalemate, with over 8,000 Anzacs killed. April 25 soon became the day that Australians and New Zealanders honor the sacrifice of those who died in that war, and the wars that followed.
NSWCDD Dam Neck Activity, formerly known as Combat Direction Systems Activity, is an NSWCDD command that provides research, development, test and evaluation, analysis, systems engineering, and integration of complex naval systems associated with surface warfare and strategic combat and weapons systems.