MARYSVILLE, Wash. (NNS) -- Chief Petty Officers (CPOs) and first class petty officers from Naval Station Everett's (NSE) CPO 365 program participated in a community service (COMSERV) project to help maintain graves at the Marysville Cemetery May 23.
During the event Sailors cleaned headstones, cleared gravesites and placed American flags on graves in order to honor those veterans and to prepare the cemetery for Memorial Day.
"[Veterans] set the groundwork for where we are at today ... because of them we are able to appreciate and enjoy the luxuries and the things that we have," said Chief Navy Counselor Aaron Castillo, who organized and participated in the COMSERV. "It's not much, but it's just giving back to them and making sure that, though they are gone, they are not forgotten."
CPO 365, a year-long professional development and training program for 1st class petty officers, was first introduced in 2010 under former Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy Rick West.
NSE Command Master Chief Joshua Dugan said this project not only honors veterans and helps the community, but also featured a key component to the CPO 365 program.
"We're honoring those who have gone before us ... at the same time, this forms a connection point to our history," said Dugan. "Chief Petty Officers are the keepers of tradition in the Navy. That is one of the main things we do, having that sense of heritage ... we have an obligation to the Navy, to the future chief petty officers, to teach them."
Sailors from the CPO 365 program, will also help to set up the cemetery's annual American flag display for the Memorial Day weekend.
The more than 230 American flags were draped over veterans graves and donated by their families, and are scheduled to be displayed in the cemetery over the weekend.
Scott Locke, the administrator of the cemetery and retired Navy veteran, appreciated the efforts of the Sailors.
"It means a lot," said Locke. "To have more people out there helping this look better for Memorial Day is just awesome."
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