NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- In a packed hangar bay at the Center of Naval Aviation Technical Training Unit (CNATTU) Oceana, USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) sent its ordnance handling officer (OHO) ashore for the last time June 20.
More than 400 Sailors, family and friends attended an emotional retirement ceremony for Lt. Cmdr. Heartsille "Bones" Reynolds who served as the aircraft carrier's OHO for more than three years.
"It's a bittersweet moment for the weapons department," said Chief Gunner's Mate (AW/SW) Frederick Shafer, leading chief petty officer for weapons department, training division. "He will definitely be missed, but we are all happy to send him off with a bang."
During the ceremony, both the commanding and executive officers were guest speakers who recounted personal experiences they shared with Reynolds while serving at various duty stations. Commanding Officer Capt. Ted Carter praised Reynolds for his leadership qualities, innovation and desire to make a difference.
"Reynolds has led such an accomplished career, so it was great to have our leaders share some of their experiences with him," said Aviation Ordnanceman 1st Class (AW/SW) Gabriel Thompson. "We were all very proud of our OHO and thankful for his leadership."
One special event took place at the retirement that no one in the audience expected. Reynolds renewed his vows with his wife, to whom he has been married for more than 20 years.
"It was a pleasant surprise to see the OHO renew his vows right there in front of all of us," said Yeoman 2nd Class (AW/SW) Patrice Argieard, administrative yeoman for the weapons department. "It was a real privilege to bear witness to that."
Well-wishers roasted the veteran Sailor and thanked him and his family for their years of dedication and loyalty to the United States Navy.
"We really wanted him and his family to know how much they've impacted not only USS Carl Vinson but the entire Navy in general," said Chief Warrant Officer Harold McLean. "He's done a lot for us during his time here, and we wanted to show our appreciation to the fullest extent."
As a "Mustang" limited duty officer, Reynolds has accomplished much during his 30-year career. Through his valiant efforts in taking on new responsibilities and challenges at more than 18 different duty stations, Reynolds has served his country with pride and distinction. During his career, he received recognition and numerous accolades, earned myriad qualifications, and received a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leadership award.
"It's been a magnificent ride," said Reynolds, speaking about his Navy career. "I've gained family from all over the world, and I am fortunate enough to have the ability to venture out and try new things after I retire.
"I will never forget the brothers and sisters or the lifelong experiences that I've gained in the Navy."
For more news from USS Carl Vinson, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn70/.