Sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Arleigh Burke (DDG 51) reflected on the events that transpired at Pearl Harbor 72 years ago, Dec. 7.
“It’s important that we don’t forget the sacrifices of the Sailors before us,” said Cmdr. Thomas Myers, Arleigh Burke’s executive officer. “The more we remember and understand, the more we will not take for granted the sacrifices made in that era.”
A presidential proclamation from Dec. 5, 2013, dedicating Dec. 7 as National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day states, “Today, with solemn pride and reverence, let us remember those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, acknowledge everyone who carried their legacy forward, and reaffirm our commitment to upholding the ideals for which they served.”
Yeoman 1st Class Christopher Brown has made it a point to honor the day while he serves at sea.
“Some Sailors serving during the attacks on Pearl Harbor made the ultimate sacrifice for the country they loved,” said Brown. “Out here, on a destroyer, on the ocean, it is important for us to remember why we are here. We signed up to defend our country just like Sailors did 72 years ago and we also will put our lives on the line when we need to.”
Arleigh Burke is currently underway in the Atlantic Ocean conducting a composite unit training exercise (COMPTUEX) with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group in preparation for an upcoming deployment.
For Electronics Technician 1st Class Ronald Passmore, being out to sea during this anniversary makes it that much more important.
“It is an honor to serve,” said Passmore. “I’m glad I was granted the opportunity to do so and a lot of people don’t understand, but when you put on the uniform, you are making a connection with the Sailors who have come before you. When I put on this uniform I’m standing on the deck of the USS Arizona and every year, serving on Dec. 7, I am honored to do what I do.”
A recount of the attack that took place on Dec. 7, 1941, was read over the ship’s announcing system, ending with a moment of silence for Arleigh Burke Sailors to personally reflect on the events that transpired on that day so long ago. Biographies and award citations were also posted around the ship for Medal of Honor and Navy Cross recipients from the attack.
“Those Sailors had to step up in the face of danger and tragedy,” said Brown. “We also need to be ready to operate outside of our comfort zone when called upon to do so.”
For the Arleigh Burke Sailors, the lessons of preparedness and ability to react quickly are not lost as they conduct training for their upcoming deployment.
“We never know when danger may come,” said Myers. “We are out here training for our mission, to go into a dangerous part of the world doing our part to prevent anything like Pearl Harbor from happening again.”
More importantly, this day is a chance for Sailors to reflect on their own service and understand the footsteps of their shipmates in which they are following.
“As a service member there is a respect for those that have gone before me,” said Passmore. “Once you serve, anyone that has served this country becomes your brother and on top of defending America’s freedom you are defending the honor of those that served before you and I couldn’t be more proud to do so.”
Arleigh Burke is conducting its final pre-deployment evaluation with the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group to achieve mission readiness and the ability to work alongside international allies in the execution of the Navy’s maritime strategy.
Press Release, December 11, 2013; Image: US Navy