On the night of 20 March 2003, the British Royal Marines launched an amphibious invasion of the Al Faw Peninsula in Iraq. The following morning, 40 Commando Royal Marine requested naval gunfire support (NGS). HMAS Anzac, serving in the Gulf as part of Operation Falconer (Australia’s commitment to the invasion of Iraq), responded to the call from its position seven miles off the coast. The firing of its 5-inch gun marked the first combat shots fired by the Royal Australian Navy since the end of the Vietnam War.
To commemorate this event, one of the shell casings was collected, and the names of the 175 crew members were engraved on it. Other shell casings were melted down and made into medallions to commemorate the event.
HMAS Anzac went on to provide seven NGS missions over three days targeting Iraqi bunkers and artillery.