Military News

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Security Department Honors the Thin Blue Line

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Sloan, USS George Washington Public Affairs

WATERS NEAR GUAM (NNS) -- The Security Department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73) dedicated a master-at-arms wall of remembrance during a Memorial Day ceremony, May 25.

The ceremony honored master-at-arms (MA) who paid the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country.

"In a community of more than 9,000 MAs you would assume that most of these Sailors would just be names," said Lt. Michael Whitehead, George Washington's security officer. "But for us, it's personal since each Sailor represented in this memorial served with or worked for Sailors in this department."

The Memorial Day service commenced with the reciting of the MA creed, followed by a brief remembrance of each Sailor and concluded with the hanging of plaques for each fallen MA.

"For us these losses are real," said Whitehead. "From standing in Arlington as Sean's young widow [was] presented the national ensign to standing post with "Jet" Dougandara, these losses are personal and they shape us."

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Sean Brazas and Master-at-Arms 1st Class John Dougandara were killed-in-action during their tours in Afghanistan May 30, 2012 and Aug. 6, 2011.

Whitehead expressed the impact law enforcement has throughout the Navy and society as a whole.

"We take a moment to bond as brothers and sisters who choose to step into the fray and, if necessary, lay down our lives in defense of this ship and its crew," said Whitehead.

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class James Bailey, from Lagrange, Georgia, said he believes the memorial will leave a lasting impression on the command, because it shows honor for fallen individuals.

Bailey added that the memorial was a powerful way to remember what these particular MA's have been through, and understand some of the motives behind the actions of law enforcement.

"These loses remind us of the importance of training and the moments we have with family and loved ones because we never know when our next watch will be our last," said Whitehead.

George Washington and its embarked air wing, Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5, are on patrol in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of responsibility supporting security and stability in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. George Washington will conduct a hull swap with the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) later this year after serving seven years as the U.S. Navy's only forward-deployed aircraft carrier in Yokosuka, Japan.

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