US Navy: Honor, Leadership, Protecting America

August 26, 2017 3:11 pm Last Updated: August 26, 2017 3:11 pm

As detailed on the United States Navy official website, “the mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and for maintaining freedom of the seas.”

The service of our Navy is critical to peace throughout the world due to the volume of nations living with ocean borders and the commerce conducted on the seas.

The Navy affirms its mission to fulfill a “broad role that encompasses everything from combat to peacekeeping, to humanitarian assistance-in theater, on bases, and everywhere from the cockpits of F-18s to the control rooms of nuclear submarines.”

Principles for the importance of the Navy’s service are detailed as follows:

  • Serving as guardian for America’s freedom and defending the life we know.
  • Supporting the cause of liberty abroad and promoting peace for all humanity.
  • Enabling the safe travel of people and goods to meet the expanding demands of globalization.

This service is not without danger, as witnessed by recent events, and all who serve in our Navy, as with all our armed forces, are always deserving of admiration, respect, and support.

In Memoriam: USS John S. McCain Sailors

The guided missile destroyer USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collided on Aug. 21 with a merchant vessel while underway east of the Straits of Malacca.

There was significant damage to the hull resulting in flooding to nearby compartments.

Tragically, there are 10 Sailors missing (names not yet officially released) and five injured.

On Aug. 22, Admiral Scott Swift, commander, Pacific Fleet, stated that some of the missing Sailors bodies were discovered by US Navy and Marine Corps divers performing rescue operations inside the destroyer.

The Secretary of the Navy, Richard V. Spencer, stated, “Our thoughts and prayers are with our shipmates aboard USS John S. McCain. The Navy family comes together in times of crisis and I want to thank those who are providing round-the-clock assistance to the affected Sailors and families.”

In Memoriam: USS Fitzgerald Sailors

Another recent Naval tragedy on June 17, also wounding the heart of America, occurred with the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62). The ship was also involved with a collision with a merchant vessel while operating about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan.

In the June 18 official statement of the Navy, it was confirmed that the bodies of seven Sailors previously reported missing were located.

These Sailors remains were located in flooded berthing compartments. Divers were able to gain access into these spaces after the collision.

America must solemnly pause to honor them, and to offer prayers for them and their loved ones. The names of these Sailors, and all who perished serving America must be eternally honored. The deceased Sailors were as follows:

  • Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota Kyle Rigsby, 19, from Palmyra, Virginia
  • Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo Alexander Douglass, 25, from San Diego, California
  • Sonar Technician 3rd Class Ngoc T Truong Huynh, 25, from Oakville, Connecticut
  • Gunner’s Mate 2nd Class Noe Hernandez, 26, from Weslaco, Texas
  • Fire Controlman 2nd Class Carlos Victor Ganzon Sibayan, 23, from Chula Vista, California
  • Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier Alec Martin, 24, from Halethorpe, Maryland
  • Fire Controlman 1st Class Gary Leo Rehm Jr., 37, from Elyria, Ohio

USS Indianapolis Wreckage Found

In another recent headline story on Aug. 19, the perils of the sea were once again highlighted. After its sinking on June 30, 1945, the wreck of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) was found in the Pacific Ocean.

This Portland-class heavy cruiser was sunk in just 12 minutes, after it was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine after completing a secret mission delivering components of the atomic bomb used on Hiroshima.

As detailed in a US Navy press release, this was a monumental discovery. The ship, which narrowly missed being attacked at Pearl Harbor since it was out at sea on that fateful day, was lost in more than 18,000 feet of ocean.

After its sinking, about 800 of the ship’s 1, 196 Sailors and Marines survived, floating on debris from the decimated ship. But tragically, after four to five days in the ocean—suffering from exposure, dehydration, drowning, and shark attacks—only 316 survived.

In a statement after the discovery of the wreckage, Paul G. Allen, the researcher and philanthropist whose team found the ship stated, “To be able to honor the brave men of the USS Indianapolis and their families through the discovery of a ship that played such a significant role in ending World War II is truly humbling. As Americans, we all owe a debt of gratitude to the crew for their courage, persistence, and sacrifice in the face of horrendous circumstances. While our search for the rest of the wreckage will continue, I hope everyone connected to this historic ship will feel some measure of closure at this discovery so long in coming.”

One of the few remaining living survivors, Edgar Harrell, 92 years-old from Clarksville, Tennessee, offered this response to the finding of the USS Indianapolis:

“We now know the burial place of our shipmates,” he said. “It’s like the people aren’t lost anymore, they’re found, and that’s a comfort.”

Final Reflections

As a boy, the U.S. Navy had a special influence on me. This took place through the stories of my father, a sailor who served on the USS Charles J. Badger (DD-657) from 1953 to 1954.

His experience as a U.S. Sailor on this Navy destroyer helped him develop a profound spirit of patriotism. It stayed with him throughout his life and translated into a lifetime of respect for America’s flag and for all who serve in our military.

May all who serve in our Navy, be inspirited by their motto, “Non sibi sed patriae.”

May these words, translated as “Not for self but for country,” inspire our appreciation for all who serve, and the reawakening of our nation.

Vincent J. Bove

Vincent J. Bove, CPP, is a national speaker and author on issues critical to America. Bove is a recipient of the FBI Director’s Community Leadership Award for combating crime and violence and is a former confidant of the New York Yankees. His newest book is “Listen to Their Cries.” For more information, see www.vincentbove.com