PACIFIC OCEAN

The San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock ship USS John P. Murtha (LPD 26), conducted a burial at sea ceremony, May 10.

Twenty deceased service members and family members were honored during the ceremony.

"We are honored to help our fellow service members who protected our freedoms along with those who were on the homefront,” said Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Roach, the John P. Murtha’s command chaplain. “I believe there is no higher honor than to honor our brothers and sisters.”

Along with Roach, an honor detail including the commanding officer of the John P. Murtha, Capt. Kevin Lane, members of the ship’s crew, and Marines of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) were on deck for the ceremony.

“This is a wonderful tradition and to be a part of it on the ship’s maiden deployment, it seemed fitting,” said Lane. “I couldn’t be prouder of the crew and the Marines who were a part of this and their professionalism. It was truly an amazing experience.”

Following a reading from scripture, Sailors carried the remains to the back of the flight deck committing them to the sea. A rifle salute by the 11th MEU and the playing of “Taps” concluded the ceremony.

“The rendering of military honors for burials at sea is a time-honored tradition,” said Roach. “The United States regards the burying of its military dead as a solemn and sacred obligation. The Sailors of the John P. Murtha and Marines of the 11th MEU did their part in this vital role in fulfilling the nation’s obligation to pay tribute to those have served so honorably before us.”

Sailors and Marines of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) and 11th MEU are embarked on USS John P. Murtha on a regularly scheduled deployment.

For more news from USS Boxer (LHD 4), visit www.navy.mil/local/lhd4/.

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