My NMTI and LCPO found out that my uncle who had just passed away was a Command Master Chief, so they lowered the national ensign to half master and the whole ship mustered outside, stood at attention and saluted while Taps as played by our ship’s LPO.
When my LPO finished Taps, my chief told us to bow our heads and said a quick prayer and ended it with “Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.”
I’ll see you again, Uncle Roland. Today has been the toughest day in my naval career and I’ve barely just started it. Not only did I lost an uncle. I lost a brother. A shipmate. When you’re in the Navy, these other sailors aren’t just sailors. They are your brothers. They are your sisters. You are their keep and they are yours. We watch over each other because when the rounds are flying or the ship is sinking, people back home aren’t going to be helping you out. It’s the sailors who are next to you who will be helping you out and making sure you get out all right.
And I know my uncle made it out all right because he passed away in his sleep back home in the Philippines. You were granted a luxury most of us will never receive.
Fair winds and following seas, CMDCD Solar. I’ll make you proud, uncle. I’ll be the officer you wanted me to be.