Crew members of the US Navy’s 16th Independence Class littoral combat ship, USS Canberra (LCS30), have been granted the highest accolade Canberra can bestow with a Freedom of Entry march.
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Around 200 members of the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Canberra and the US Navy’s USS Canberra will parade through the city on Sunday, 23 July, as part of the commissioning of USS Canberra on 22 July.
The “Freedom of Entry” ceremony will run from 10am in Canberra from Veteran’s Park, down Northbourne Avenue, along London Circuit and Constitution Avenue, concluding at the National Convention Centre.
The tradition stretches back to medieval times as a mark of trust and confidence in an allied military force.
As part of the ceremony, the ACT’s Chief Police Officer, Deputy Commissioner Neil Gaughan APM, will issue the Challenge to the Commanding Officer of USS Canberra, Commander Bobby Barber, at Civic Square before allowing entrance to the city.
Commissioner for International Engagement Brendan Smyth said the military tradition that symbolises trust and loyalty between a city and a unit, as well as Australia and the US.
“The Freedom of Entry ceremony is a wonderful occasion for the community to come out and see the pageantry of the USS Canberra and HMAS Canberra crews parading together,” he said.
“The commissioning of USS Canberra in Sydney, and the Freedom of Entry ceremony in Canberra, demonstrates the strong partnership and ties between Australia and the US, and our respective navies. We understand that both events are a world first.
“It’s also an excellent opportunity for the US sailors to see a bit of our great city, connect with their ship’s namesake and the Canberra community. It’s a great opportunity for the people of Canberra to honour the crew of the ship named for our city.”