As time neared and everyone mustered in the well deck, we all hoped for a calm sea. As if Kyle had a say in the sea state, true to form, calm was not appropriate for a Master Chief Boatswain's Mate who was widely regarded as an "American Badass." We made last minute adjustments and held the ceremony in the well deck with the stern gate closed. We would say goodbye from the safety of the wing-walls and false beach following the formal ceremony. The time to reset the crew was fitting allowing crew members to say their personal and private farewell to their friend and shipmate. With one hand on the casket and tear filled eyes, Boatswain's Mates and chiefs bid farewell.
As the ceremony began, chiefs folded our nation's colors with heavy hearts, but with full competence leading in the front of their Sailors. My remarks were short with admitted futility of providing comfort, but intended to express a sincere appreciation to the family for raising such a man and requesting USS MAKIN ISLAND to perform Kyle's burial. As I looked into the souls of the crew, I could see in full display the impact Kyle had on their careers and lives. Chaplain Carlton's prayer and message were as usual, heartfelt and fitting for the moment.
Following the 21 gun salute, the XO gave the order to muster Deck Department and the Boatswain's Mates swelled with pride yelling "Boatswain's Mate" after their name was called. Upon hearing the silence following "Master Chief Sutton," a real gut punch awareness that Kyle was gone fell upon the crew.
Upon the silence of the third calling, Master Chief Boatswain's Mate Kyle Glen Sutton,"
the entire crew saluted and taps was played throughout the ship.
The crew reset to the safety of the wing-walls and the false beach while Kyle was placed on the stern gate. As the stern gate was lowered, the crew came to attention and saluted farewell to their friend, leader and shipmate. Blue skies and a beautiful sunrise graced the background as Kyle was laid to rest. The sun rays reflecting through the salt spray provided a very fitting testament that God was present and awaiting the arrival of heaven's newest angel. Master Chief Kyle Sutton peacefully slipped below the waves.