At the end of last year, the Riverwood Squadron of the Australian Air League was invited to travel to Hawaii to perform in the annual Pearl Harbour Memorial Parade. Each year, one international band is invited to attend, and the Riverwood Squadron Marching Band is the first Australian Band to be invited.
The program saw the Squadron perform at the battleship USS Missouri and the Pearl Harbour Memorial Parade through the main streets of Honolulu. Among the participants in the parade were several surviving veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbour.
“It was an honour and privilege to be involved in this historic event. We performed the US Armed Forces Medley with the US Marine Corps Band and had just over two months to learn this completely new piece of music,” Squadron Officer Commanding Chris Bailey said.
” I am so very proud of these Cadets as this was not easy to achieve as we were juggling our regular community engagements as well as training for our Hawaii performances.”
“We would like to thank Ambassador Jane Hardy, the Australian Consul General in Hawaii, who took the time to meet with the Cadets prior to the opening ceremony on the 7th December.”
Following their parade commitments, the cadets had the opportunity to take part in a three-day education program run at the Pearl Harbour Aviation Museum. The museum includes 43 aircraft on display, from a Boeing Stearman Model 75 flown by former President George Bush on his first solo, to a retired Royal Australian Air Force F-111C and the Cadets enjoyed a range of activities.
“Seeing all the aircraft and learning about the history was amazing,” said Leading Cadet Trystan Farah.
These included educational workshops, team building, and leadership activities and they even go to sleep on board the battleship USS Missouri. Commissioned in 1944, the Iowa-class battleship USS Missouri is best remembered as the site of the surrender of the Empire of Japan which saw the end of World War II, and after being re-activated in 1984 she provided fire support during Operation Desert Storm in 1991 before finally being decommissioned.
“I really liked the activities, history and education we did on the USS Missouri,” said Sergeant Lee Wood.
“The cadets can now take skills learned on the course and further development them with our own communities at home,” Squadron OC Bailey said.
This amazing opportunity would not have been possible without the continued support of so many in our local community including Club Rivers, Canterbury Bankstown Chamber of Commerce, Canterbury Bankstown & Georges River Councils, Lions Club of Lugarno & Oatley, Rotary Club of Hurstville, Bankstown City Unity Bank, various RSL Sub-Branches and so many others.
Thank you all so very much for supporting our Cadets.
More photos from the event can be seen here.