How Sea Story Thursday was born:
My Uncle & Dad. That’s the plain and simple reason. While on leave they both kept bringing up stories I had told them over the past few years at sea. My Uncle told me that he loved to tell my stories to anyone who would listen. hmmmm… I’ve got plenty more where that came from, maybe I’ll make it a weekly rendition. Done!
The Executive Officer (right) and Master Chief (left) are standing right behind me.
When I was stationed on my first ship we were underway all the time, which is common for a U.S. military ship. One of the things that we did often was “Burial at Sea”. Retired veterans that had passed away would be cremated and their remains sent to us. On board the ship we would hold a ceremony on the flight deck to recognize their service and show them a proper burial on the high seas. Most of them were so old when they passed the rates (job classification) they held no longer existed in the Navy. It was very nice to be able to ponder their past while seeing our sailors and brethren sent off to God properly.
I volunteered to read the prayer (because there are no chaplains stationed onboard small boy ships) during the ceremony and in total I was part of 16 Burials at Sea, one in which my dad got to watch when he was sailing on board with us from Newport Rhode Island to Norfolk Virginia (Tiger Cruise) (that will be a later Sea Story).
During the ceremony our Executive Officer would read the opening paragraphs, our Master Chief would read an expert about the veterans and I would read the prayer. We would then hold a 7 gun salute, and while saluting our brethren going home, the ashes would be sent into the deep blue sea.
The navigator would log the position (longitude and latitude) and we would send a box back to the family, with an American flag, shell casings form the salute and the position in the ocean that the remains were dropped.
I got goosebumps Every. Time. I really enjoyed being a part of that.