Truman Conducts Burial at Sea Memorial

Story Number: NNS100125-15Release Date: 1/25/2010 2:51:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW) David Wyscaver, USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) Public Affairs

USS HARRY S. TRUMAN, At Sea (NNS) -- A burial at sea ceremony was held Jan. 21 aboard USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) to honor two Sailors for their contributions to the U.S. Navy.

Burial at sea ceremonies are one of the most time-honored traditions in the Navy.

Among those honored during the Jan. 21 ceremony aboard Truman were Aviation Boatswain's Mate (Equipment) Chief Petty Officer Frank Scheuer and Seaman William Weisheit.

Scheuer served 20 years in the Navy which included time during the Korean War, the 1958 American intervention in Lebanon and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Weisheit served from 1947 to 1953 and earned numerous decorations while assigned to USS Achernar (AKA-53), an assault cargo ship where he worked as a carpenter.

Although Sailors aboard the aircraft carrier never served with the two Sailors buried at sea, Gunner's Mate 3rd Class James Langley, from Truman's G-2 division, said the ceremony was important not only for today's generation of Sailors, but the deceased's family members.

"It's a chance to say a final goodbye," said Langley. "These ceremonies also help provide closure to the Sailors' friends and families."

Truman Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. William Holiman said Sailors sometimes choose this as a burial option out of respect to the U.S. Navy.

"Burials at sea are a long-standing part of Navy tradition," said Holiman. "Many Sailors who have a strong appreciation for the Navy and a strong appreciation for the sea choose to be buried at sea."

In order to ensure these Sailors are given a proper farewell, many different elements have to come together.

"There's a platoon of rifleman which provide a 21-gun salute," said Holiman. "There's an honor platoon of 13 service members - instead of the traditional 14 - to physically symbolize the absence of one of our fallen shipmates. The command master chief is on hand to represent the enlisted community and the commanding officer is there to represent the officer side of the house."

Langley said the ceremony was important to participating Sailors, who always ensure their part in the events is well-rehearsed.

"We put a lot of time and effort into being a part of this," said Langley. "We want to make sure our uniforms and movements are crisp so we can do our part in saying goodbye to these Sailors."

Both observers and participants say they feel great emotion and pride at being part of such a significant event.

"I feel very honored to be a part of the ceremony," Langley said. "It's nice to see everyone come together to pay tribute to a fallen shipmate."

"It's a great honor, it's something we work hard at and put a lot of time into. It's important to realize these shipmates made a contribution to their country through their service and that we honor them," said Holiman.

For more news from USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75), visit

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) transits the Atlantic Ocean.
Official U.S. Navy file photo.
November 12, 2009
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