Memorial service honors fallen Stennis sailor
April 30, 2009 · Updated 1:34 PM
A memorial service was held on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) April 28.
Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (Equipment) 3rd Class (AW) Gatlin Green, 22, a native of York, Pa., died while performing a routine procedure on a Stennis catapult system after the ship pulled into Changi Naval Base, Singapore on April 24.
A crowd of approximately 600 Stennis crew members attended the memorial ceremony on Stennis’ bow, consisting mainly of sailors from throughout the ship, although the majority came from the air department. Their brightly colored jerseys were front and center during the ceremony, showing silent support for their fallen shipmate.
Stennis Commanding Officer Capt. Joseph Kuzmick, spoke about Green during the ceremony’s opening remarks.
“I’m sure that like me, you are proud to have the honor to have had the opportunity to serve with such a great sailor, natural leader and patriotic American,” Kuzmick said. “I’ve had the opportunity to speak with Gatlin’s wife, mother and father-in-law. They are naturally devastated by this, but they are also buoyed by your camaraderie with him.”
Later, Chief Aviation Boatswain’s Mate (AW/SW) Henry Ceballos and Aviation Boatswain’s Mate 2nd Class (AW) Christopher Henry delivered a eulogy.
“Gatlin lived an amazing life even though it was rather short. Gatlin was a great sailor; he was the type of sailor that you could count on day or night,” Ceballos said.
Stennis Assistant Ship’s Chaplain Lt. Marty Johnson offered words of comfort before Chief Warrant Officer Rayvon Northern delivered the Aviation Boatswain’s Mates’ Prayer.
Green was posthumously awarded a Navy Commendation Medal and the Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist pin.
Weapons department delivered a 21-gun salute followed by taps and a benediction by Johnson.
After the ceremony concluded, Green’s shipmates paid their individual respects and shared stories and remembrances. He is survived by his wife, Kelly.