Entries in Sailors (4)


Civil War Sailors Buried at Arlington National Cemetery

TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images(ARLINGTON COUNTY, Va.) -- Two unidentified sailors from the USS Monitor were buried Friday at Arlington National Cemetery on the 151st anniversary of ironclad's famous battle with the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia. The descendants of the 16 sailors who perished aboard the ship when it sank in a New Year's Eve storm in 1862 are grateful for the considerable interest in Friday's interment.

A decade has gone by since the ship's turret was raised from the ocean floor in the waters off Cape Hatteras in 2002. Efforts to identify the two sailors have proved unsuccessful so far, though it has been determined that they were Caucasians who stood about 5'7" tall, one was in his late teens to early 20's, the other in his 30's.

Andrew Bryan from Maine told ABC News earlier Friday that the graveside ceremony would be an emotional event for him. His great grandfather William Bryan served as a yeoman on the Monitor when the ship sank. Based on Bryan's age and stature it was believed he could be the older of the two sailors identified through forensic work.

The DNA results from samples Andrew Bryan provided to investigators, however, have proven inconclusive. But he is hopeful that a positive ID could be around the corner now that a female relative in Australia has agreed to provide a DNA sample, making a mitochondrial DNA match possible.

"He spent his life on the ocean so if he's still there that's fine, but if this is him I want him to be recognized," said Bryan.

Bryan is gratified by all the attention the burial has generated and says this may be the last time the Monitor sailors are honored on the national stage, "but as for our family it's a continuance ... it helps keep the story going, there's an interest to it, people will better understand the roots of our country."

Another descendant has also been heartened by the interest the Monitor burial has generated. William Finlayson had two ancestors who served on the Monitor, one of whom was John L Worden, the Monitor's first captain, who was injured in the battle with the Virginia. The other ancestor was Worden's nephew who served as Worden's aide.

Finlayson is also grateful. He says that you get a sense among the descendants of the 16 who perished that "you can only feel in your heart if you're directly related to it by blood and to see so much interest and so many people turn up, it's just incredible."

Noted Civil War historian James McPherson called the recognition for sailors who fought for the Union long overdue as they deserve as much recognition as soldiers who died at Gettysburg. He pointed out that every sailor aboard the Monitor was a volunteer, just as every sailor in the Navy was at the time. However, he said they were undertaking a hazardous duty because of speculation at the time the ironclad was being put into service that it "would be a coffin for the crew and that it would sink, not float."

He describes Friday's burial as "our chance as a nation to pay our respects and say goodbye" the Monitor's sailors. The attention is "fully deserved" and recalling Lincoln's Gettysburg Address, he says, "they did pay their last full measure of devotion and in turn we ought to recognize and acknowledge that."

The remaining 14 sailors who perished aboard the Monitor are likely contained aboard the rest of the ship's wreckage which lies in waters 250 feet deep.

The Monitor National Marine Sanctuary contains about 85 percent of the ship's structure.

David Alberg is the superintendent of the NOAA Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, which he describes as hallowed ground. "We treat it as a gravesite, it is hallowed ground. It is a place where tremendous sacrifice was made in defense of our country." He says between 15 and 20 divers a year undertake the difficult dive to the ship's wreckage and they all come back saying the same thing. "It's history and they're coming face to face with something that everybody learns about in history books."

Alberg accompanied the remains Thursday as they were flown to D.C. He's struck by the interest in their burial and thinks it's a unifying event. He thought it was ironic that the sailors were fighting to preserve the union and that it was appropriate that their final trip took them over a country they had helped to create.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Marines to Return from Longest at Sea Deployment in 40 Years

Creatas/Thinkstock(CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C.) -- A Marine unit is returning Saturday to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina after the longest at sea Marine deployment in 40 years.  

"Approximately 270 Marines and Sailors with Battalion Landing Team, 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, and 30 Marines and Sailors with Combat Logistics Battalion 22 are scheduled to return and see their family and friends," a military statement said.

Another 960 Marines and Sailors from the same Marine Air Ground Task Force will return to Camp Lejeune on Sunday.

The 2,300 Marines and Sailors of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard the USS Bataan and two other ships were forced to deploy three months early in late March of last year to support operations in Libya and were under the impression they would be at sea for the usual six to seven months.  Instead, the deployment turned into one of the longest deployments on record for a Marine Corps unit -- ending after more than 10 months at sea. While deployed the unit also participated in training in Djibouti as well as bilateral training with Spanish and Romanian Marines.

The remaining sailors will continue to their home port of Norfolk, Va.  They are expected to arrive Tuesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


64 US Navy Sailors Discharged for Selling, Using Drugs

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(SAN DIEGO) -- Some of the sailors aboard the ship that buried al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at sea earlier this year have also been tossed overboard, career-wise.

According to Navy officials with the U.S. 3rd Fleet, as many as 64 sailors based in San Diego were recently busted for using or selling drugs.

The drug of choice seems to have been the herbal substance "spice," which gives users a marijuana-type high.  These "fake" pot drugs aren't legal and the Navy came down hard on the sailors, kicking some of the worst offenders out of the service.

While the sailors, all of whom received non-judicial punishment, were stationed on three vessels, 49 were from the USS Carl Vinson.  Last May, bin Laden's body was buried at sea from the deck of this ship after he was shot dead by Navy SEALs in Pakistan.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ten Sailors Injured After Fire Aboard US Navy Ship

U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released(SAN DIEGO) -- Ten sailors were injured Wednesday afternoon after a fighter jet aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier caught fire, according to the military.

The incident happened off the coast of California around 2:50 p.m. on the deck of the USS John C. Stennis.  The military said an F/A-18C Hornet was preparing to take off when its engine failed, causing it to go up in flames and injure ten sailors nearby.

The injured sailors were intially treated on the ship.  Four were flown out to Naval Medical Center San Diego where they were listed in stable condition.  The pilot of the jet was not harmed.

The ship suffered no significant damage.

An investigation is now underway to determine what caused the mishap.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio