USS VICKSBURG, At Sea (NNS) -- Sailors assigned to guided-missile cruiser USS Vicksburg (CG 69) performed a burial at sea ceremony, June 16.
Twenty-one Sailors and civilians were laid to rest during the ceremony, the first of its kind during Vicksburg's deployment.
Burial at sea is a longstanding tradition in the Navy, and peacetime burial at sea has been commonplace since after World War II.
A burial at sea may be requested through the Department of Decedent Affairs and a specific ship may be requested.
"The family has a lot of say in this," said Lt. Edsil Logan, command chaplain aboard Vicksburg, who performed the service. "We make sure that we stay sensitive to the needs of the family and the desires of those being buried."
"Burial at sea makes us realize how precious life is and to not take family, friends and shipmates for granted," said Logan.
Two of the deceased were family members of the current Vicksburg Sailors.
"I have performed eight burial at sea ceremonies," said Logan. "This is the first where we had family members who were able to participate."
The remains of retired Cmdr. Ray Schmidt were committed to the sea by his grandson, Vicksburg Sailor, Operations Specialist 3rd Class Derek Marsik.
"I was glad that I was able to participate," said Marsik. "I felt very honored to be part of this tradition as well as carry on a legacy of service."
"I think it's important for ships to do burials at sea," said Fire Controlman 2nd Class George Decoste, command lay leader aboard Vicksburg. "We are entrusted to carry on tradition and take time to pay respects to those who have sacrificed."
Vicksburg is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations, theater security cooperation efforts and support missions as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
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