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Chiefs honor fallen shipmates with sea burial

MC3 Josue Escobosa
Chief Petty Officers present arms as they prepare to fire a 21-gun salute during a burial-at-sea aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74). Stennis is on a scheduled six-month deployment to the western Pacific Ocean.

The Chiefs’ Mess aboard USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) displayed the maxim ‘once a chief, always a chief’ as they united to commit six fallen chief petty officers to the sea in a burial-at-sea ceremony, April 1.

To honor the brotherhood shared by all chiefs in the Navy, the burial at sea was conducted on the 116th birthday of the chief petty officer rank by a burial-at-sea detail comprised entirely of chiefs.

“A chief petty officer is part of the greatest fraternity in the Department of Defense,” said Stennis Command Master Chief (AW/SW) Jay Powers. “I felt it was befitting to honor them by having all of their fellow chiefs in ranks to bid them their final farewell.”

Every chief, past or present, is part of a Navy-wide chief petty officers’ mess and is dedicated to the development and mentorship of their junior Sailors. This burial at sea honored the memory of these chiefs who upheld that legacy, said Powers.

“The military professionalism in the burial-at-sea ceremony, from the honor guard to the firing squad, honors the individual being buried and his service to our nation,” said Chief Religious Program Specialist (SW/AW) David Walsworth, Stennis’ burial-at-sea coordinator. “Being a part of a burial at sea is an honor in itself.”

This burial-at-sea ceremony honored the service of the Navy’s fallen Sailors and demonstrated the eternal brotherhood shared by chief petty officers. 

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