Seven Sailors, selected to represent the rates and ranks of the seven Sailors lost during a collision at sea five years ago, release balloons during a Remembrance Ceremony on USS Fitzgerald. US Navy photo by MC3 Catie Coyle
USS Fitzgerald marks solemn remembrance, loss of Sailors following 2017 collision
by MC3 Caitlin Coyle
PHILIPPINE SEA - Five years after the collision that took the lives of seven Sailors, destroyer USS Fitzgerald (DDG 62) and her crew held a remembrance ceremony for the fallen while on deployment in U.S. 7th Fleet.
On June 17, 2017 Fitzgerald collided with Philippines-flagged container ship MV ACX Crystal, 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka, Japan. Chief Fire Controlman Gary Rehm, Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Noe Hernandez, Personnel Specialist 1st Class Xavier A. Martin, Fire Controlman 1st Class Carlos V. Sibayan, Yeoman 3rd Class Shingo A. Douglass, Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Ngoc T. Truong and Gunner’s Mate Seaman Dakota K. Rigsby, all perished in the subsequent flooding in their berthing.
Fitzgerald flew the ship remembrance flag throughout the day. The ceremony began with an invocation from Chaplain Brandon Greene over the 1MC to honor the fallen and the safety of all crews at sea.
Cmdr. David Catterall, commanding officer of Fitzgerald, also spoke to the crew.
“We must never forget the fallen, they made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Catterall. “Every day we’re out here, we must never forget the dangerous nature of our jobs and why readiness and safety must always be at the forefront.”
Fitzgerald is on its first deployment since the collision and is currently serving in the U.S 7th Fleet.
The ship won the CY21 Vice Adm. Thomas Copeman III material readiness award, demonstrating the team understands that the foundation of a safe deployment is material readiness.
“Our training and watch qualifications maintain adherence to community requirements, while being underpinned by a thorough and effective briefing and debriefing process that ensures lessons learned are lessons applied to future evolutions,” said Catterall.
Fitzgerald is on a scheduled deployment in the 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability through alliances and partnerships while serving as a ready-response force in support of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
Military News | Navy News | USS Fitzgerald marks 2017 loss of Sailors