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U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard Joins Historic USS Canberra Commissioning Ceremony in Sydney From

22 July 2023

From Naval District Washington Public Affairs

The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, renowned for its performance in time-honored naval traditions, played a pivotal role in the momentous commissioning ceremony of the USS Canberra (LCS 30) July 22, 2023.

SYDNEY- The U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, renowned for its performance in time-honored naval traditions, played a pivotal role in the momentous commissioning ceremony of the USS Canberra (LCS 30) July 22, 2023.

The event, held at the Royal Australian Navy's Fleet Base East, included ceremonial traditions from both nations, underscoring the deep-rooted mateship and mutual respect between the U.S. and Australian Navies. The Navy's premier ceremonial unit, the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard diligently trains to render proper respect to the nation, its leaders, and foreign dignitaries.

“The elite members of the US Navy Ceremonial Guard are keepers of tradition and reflect the very essence the United States Navy," said Rear Adm. Nancy Lacore, commandant Naval District Washington. "Their participation in USS Canberra's commissioning demonstrates the pride and privilege the U.S. Navy feels to conduct the ceremony in Australia."

Commissioning ceremonies have been a U.S. Navy tradition since 1775, hoisting the commissioning pennant to signify the ship and crew are ready to fulfill their mission. In the days preceding the ceremony, the Guard spent time training alongside and integrating with Australian Navy Sailors, sharing knowledge, skills, and customs with one another.

"We are immensely honored to represent our country alongside our Australian counterparts on this distinguished occasion,” said Cmdr. Alexander McMahon, commanding officer, U.S. Navy. “It is a special opportunity to blend our traditions with those of the Australian Navy, tailoring a unique ceremony fit for a warship named for our Ally's capital city."

The Sailors of the Ceremonial Guard will participate in a ceremonial march in Canberra on Sunday, July 23, to celebrate the city's bestowal of Freedom of Entry on the newly commissioned littoral combat ship (LCS). The tradition, which dates back to medieval times, is the highest accolade that a town or city can bestow on a group or individual, and is a reflection of the trust and confidence that the citizens hold in them.

Canberra is the second U.S. Navy ship named for Australia’s capital and in honor of the HMAS Canberra that was lost at the Battle of Savo Island in World War II. The first USS Canberra (CA-70/CAG-2) was named at the direction of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in honor of the Australian heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra and its courageous actions during the Battle of Savo Island which took place Aug. 7-9, 1942. The new Baltimore-class heavy cruiser was renamed Canberra from Pittsburgh on Oct. 16, 1942 and was commissioned on Oct. 14, 1943.

Littoral Combat Ships (LCS) are a fast, agile, mission-focused platform designed to operate in near-shore environments, winning against 21st-century coastal threats. The LCS is capable of supporting forward presence, maritime security, sea control, and deterrence.

Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official ceremonial unit of the Navy. Located at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, DC, the Navy Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the service in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy, and public ceremonies in and around the nation’s capital. Members of the Navy Ceremonial Guard participate in some of our nation’s most prestigious ceremonies, including Presidential inaugurations and arrival ceremonies for foreign officials. In addition, the Navy Ceremonial Guard serves as the funeral escort and conducts all services for Navy personnel buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

For more information on the USS Canberra commissioning, please visit and

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