ATLANTIC OCEAN (NNS) -- Sailors aboard USS Wasp (LHD 1) laid to rest 20 military veterans and one military spouse during a burial at sea, June 30.
Seventeen Sailors, one Marine, one Airman, one Soldier and one military spouse were committed to the sea with full military honors, including a 21-gun salute.
The ceremony was conducted under the direction of Wasp's Commanding Officer Capt. Andy Smith and Command Chaplain Cmdr. Carla Barry.
"On this solemn occasion we stand ready to carry out a duty, which is also a privilege," said Smith. "To render appropriate military honors for shipmates who have passed on from this life."
During the ceremony, the command chaplain recognized each service member individually. The deceased were then laid to rest, honored with a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
Each department aboard Wasp played a role in conducting the burial at sea. Sailors volunteered to carry the cremains of each fallen service member and dependent.
"I feel it is my duty to give them the honors they deserve for serving their country," said Air Traffic Controller 1st Class Aaron Kish, Wasp honor platoon leader.
Burials at sea are often performed for fallen military members who were honorably discharged, retired, honorably discharged or served on active duty as well as their family members.
"The burial at sea is one way which we honor the memory of our fellow service members," said Smith. "Historians have documented that burials at sea have been conducted by sea bearing people down through the ages."
According to navy.mil, the tradition of a burial at sea is an ancient one. This practice has been around as long as people have gone to sea. In earlier times, the body was sewn into a weighted shroud, usually sailcloth. The body was then sent over the side, usually with a religious ceremony. Many burials at sea took place as recently as World War II when naval forces operated at sea for months at a time. Since World War II many service members, veterans, and family members have chosen to be buried at sea.
Wasp is deployed with the Wasp Amphibious Ready Group to support maritime security operations and theatre security cooperation efforts in the U.S. Navy 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation.
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For more news from USS Wasp (LHD 1), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd1/.