USS RONALD REAGAN (CVN 76), at sea (NNS) -- Staff members of the USS Arizona Memorial gave seven USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Sailors a rare opportunity Jan. 22, when they opened the memorial early, allowing them to reenlist at the historical site.
The memorial normally isn't open for ceremonies on weekends, but the staff made an exception for these Sailors. The memorial staff went above and beyond their normal duties, which meant a great deal to these Sailors.
"I'm an Arizona native, so this had a lot of meaning for me," said Chief Hull Maintenance Technician (SW) Desi Garrigan, Engineering Department. "I finally got to show my respect for the Sailors who died on USS Arizona (BB 39). It was a feeling of complete satisfaction."
Four of the seven reenlistees brought their own U.S. flags to the ceremony. They were allowed to hoist them over the memorial in honor of the Arizona Sailors who died during the attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Dec. 7, 1941.
"Raising the flag over the memorial is going to be my best memory; it was a huge honor," said Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) 2nd Class Antoine Oliver, Air Department. "I'm sending my flag back to my parents' house, where it will sit next to my reenlistment certificate."
According to Chief Information Technician (SW) Christopher Culp, Combat Systems Department, the sense of honor and duty to the memory of USS Arizona Sailors was felt by everyone.
"The attack on Pearl Harbor was one of the most important moments in our nation's and Navy's history," said Culp. "Reenlisting at the memorial was special, because we were continuing service to our country at a place where more than 1,100 Sailors gave the ultimate sacrifice."
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76.