USS CHANCELLORSVILLE, At Sea (NNS) -- The guided-missile cruiser USS Chancellorsville (CG 62) commemorated the lives of eight former Sailors and two Navy family members during a burial at sea May 28.
The ceremony occurred on the ship's fantail where an 18-person honor guard carried out the solemn duty of committing former shipmates to the sea. This is a time-honored naval tradition for military veterans who desired to be buried at sea. With the ship stopped in the water, and a seven-man rifle squad fired a 21-gun salute to honor the sacrifices of each Sailor and family member.
The burial at sea was one of the very first events for Chancellorsville on its 2009 deployment with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group.
"It's important to remember the past as we continue to go forward," said Lt. j.g. Jonathan Flacke, who helped organize the ceremony. "Something like this really makes us stop for a moment and remember why we are out here."
According to naval tradition, the ship's commanding officer, Capt. John Nolan mailed a personal letter to each of the families of those committed to the sea, including a folded flag, a spent cartridge from each of the three rifle volleys and a chart showing the exact location of the ship at the time of committal.
"As we prepare to head west on our deployment, it is an honor and privilege for our crew to take the time to remember fallen shipmates from the 'greatest generation,'" said Capt. Nolan. "This solemn ceremony is a special part of our naval heritage."
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