USS Harry S. Truman Sailors Honors Fallen Shipmate

Story Number: NNS080208-16Release Date: 2/8/2008 7:59:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Patrick Grieco, USS Harry S. Truman Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- Nuclear powered aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman's (CVN 75) weapons department, held a special memorial for one of their shipmates, Gunner's Mate 2nd Class (AW) Christopher Bissett, Feb. 6.

Bissett served on board Truman until August 2007. He then left the ship and got out of the Navy. Bissett was killed in an auto accident Jan. 22.

"We honored him and his family with a 21-gun salute," said Gunner's Mate 2nd Class Adam Jacques of the weapons department. "He was so close to us and we wanted to do something nice for him and his family."

Jacques said Truman will send Bissett's family a red aviation ordnance jersey with signatures, shell casings from the salute and a special video.

Chief Aviation Ordnanceman (AW) Mark Matheny, gun salute squad leader said they found out about Bissett's passing through one of the weapons department Sailor's wife.

"It was about three weeks ago we found out," said Matheny. "We found out he was killed in a car accident in Pennsylvania. Apparently he hit some black ice and lost control of his car."

Those who knew him best remember the fun loving and caring person he was.

"He was always there for someone," said Airman Paige Young, one of Bissett's close friends from air department. "Even if he didn't like the person and they needed something, he would still help the person."

Jacques said Bissett assisted in training a vast majority of Truman's security force in small arms.

"He was an excellent teacher," said Jacques. "I feel better for having known him. He was probably the best gunner's mate we've had."

Matheny said while Bissett and he were standing armory watch a while back, Bissett spent the night disassembling the weapons and making sure Matheny understood every aspect of the gun.

"He was very passionate about it," said Matheny. "He had this ability to teach you, and not just make you understand, but make you want to know more. He wouldn't sign any of my personnel qualification standards until he was sure I understood everything."

Jacques said Bissett taught him not to take life too seriously and enjoy the time he has.

"We seriously lost a great man," said Young.

Matheny believes Bissett's memory will live on in the hearts of everyone who knew him. He said Bissett was a very genuine and real person, who never felt like he had to "build himself up."

"There was nothing fake about him," said Matheny. "He didn't need to show off."

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