Sailors and Marines embarked aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Pearl Harbor (LSD 52) for Pacific Partnership 2013, visited the USS Arizona Memorial, May 24, to pay their respects and lay a wreath in honor of Memorial Day.
USS Pearl Harbor, the command platform for this year’s Pacific Partnership mission, had the opportunity to honor its namesake city and the Sailors who lost their lives in the Japanese attack on Dec. 7, 1941.
Before the ceremony, Pearl Harbor Sailors toured the memorial and gathered together to view the sunken ship and names of it’s fallen Sailors.
The Mission Commander for Pacific Partnership, Capt. Wallace Lovely, and USS Pearl Harbor’s Commanding Officer Cmdr. Michael Harris led a wreath laying ceremony to pay their respects.
“This is an absolute honor and a privilege,” said Harris. “To be able to do this memorial for those who have gone before us is very humbling.”
Sailors who attended the ceremony said they experienced a mixture of emotions.
“The feeling I got when I arrived was beyond tranquility,” said Hull Maintenance Technician 2nd Class Keith Doran. “I feel like I’m almost related to them in a way, like I’m part of their family.”
All in attendance, some of whom were visiting the memorial for the first time, were humbled to celebrate the memory of those who fought and lost their lives for their country.
After the ceremony, Capt. Harris said that there was something really special about being deployed aboard USS Pearl Harbor, in Pearl Harbor on Memorial Day, “It’s just incredible.”
Pacific Partnership is the largest disaster response-preparation mission in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. This year’s missions is taking place in Samoa, Tonga, Republic of Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands and will partner the U.S. Navy with non-governmental organizations and regional partners including Australia, Canada, Colombia, France, Japan, Malaysia and New Zealand to improve maritime security, conduct humanitarian assistance and strengthen regional disaster response preparedness. Partner nations will lead individual phases for the first time in the history of the mission.
Press Release, May 27, 2013; Image: US Navy