USS Canberra Commissioning strengthens alliance

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The Hon Richard Marles MP

Deputy Prime Minister

Minister for Defence

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02 6277 7800

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22 July 2023

United States (US) Navy ship, the USS Canberra, will be commissioned in Sydney today, becoming the first US vessel to be commissioned in Australia.

Australia is pleased to host representatives from the US Navy active fleet at HMAS Kuttabul in Sydney for this historic event.

The USS Canberra is an Independence-class littoral combat ship, with proud links to Australian industry, having been designed by Australian shipbuilder Austal Limited in Fremantle, Western Australia.

Today’s commissioning reflects the long-standing friendship and alliance between Australia and the US and our shared commitment to upholding the rules-based order.

A commissioning is an official ceremony when a ship enters active service. It is one of the most significant milestones in the life of a ship and has been a US Navy tradition since 1775.

The first USS Canberra was a Baltimore-class heavy cruiser and the first US Navy ship to be named after a foreign capital. It was named at the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in honour of the Australian ship HMAS Canberra, for its courageous actions during the Battle of Savo Island in August 1942.

During the Battle of Savo Island, HMAS Canberra was hit by shellfire 24 times in less than two minutes and 84 of her crew were killed defending landing operations of the US Marines at Guadalcanal.

Members of the ship’s company will visit Canberra on 23 July 2023, when the Australian Capital Territory will grant Freedom of Entry. It is the highest accolade a city can bestow and reinforces the strong ties that bind Australia and the US.

Quotes attributable to Deputy Prime Minister, the Hon Richard Marles MP:

“The commissioning of the USS Canberra is an opportunity to reflect on the shared history, friendship and cooperation between Australia and the United States.

“Australians can be proud that this ship, designed in Western Australia by local industry and named after HMAS Canberra, is being commissioned here for the first time in the history of the United States Navy.  

 “It is a privilege to witness our two navies come together at Fleet Base East today for this historic occasion.”

Quotes attributable to Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Mark Hammond AO, RAN

“Today marks a proud moment which our Royal Australian Navy is privileged to share alongside our allies and friends in the United States Navy.

“The connection between our navies, forged in battle during the Second World War, is reflected in the name USS Canberra.”


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