Sailors on board U.S. Navy’s amphibious assault ship USS Boxer recently scattered the ashes of 15 deceased military members during a burial at sea ceremony.
The ceremony, which many consider a sacred honor, is requested by the military member, their family or dependents. This tradition is designed to demonstrate honor and commitment to service and their country beyond a military member’s life.
Boxer’s command chaplain, Commander Charles Hodges said: “In a ceremony that acknowledges their service to our nation and calls upon the powers greater than ourselves in which they placed their faith, we commend their remains to the deep. This is our way of saying a final ‘Thank You’ for the service the deceased gave in protecting the principles we hold dear.”
Chief Religious Program Specialist Joseph Stroney said: “Conducting ceremonies, such as a burial at sea, gives these Sailors and Marines a chance to see a tradition not many get to witness or participate in.”
Each department on board Boxer played a role in conducting the burial at sea. Sailors and Marines volunteered to carry the remains of each fallen service member.
Sailors and Marines from Boxer Amphibious Ready Group and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit (13th MEU), counting more than 4,500 persons, are transiting the Pacific Ocean en route to the U.S. 5th and 7th Fleet area of operations.