shipmates honor sailor
During a last man roll call yesterday, all the sailors in the Auxiliary Division of the Engineering Department were present -- except Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley.
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the submarine force has been so lucky in the last 30 years. we have had an exemplary safety record. there have been several deaths shipboard during this time, but all in all the boats have been safe. other military branches lose kids during training, ops, and while just performing their jobs on a day to day basis. not so the submarine force. while we may have done some of the most dangerous and hazardous jobs in the world, we were inside our cocoons, engineering marvels of almost unimaginable complexity. training, maintenance, and an ethic of excellence, a reliance on the skills of those building and maintaining the boats, and the almost mind numbing cycle of training, training, and more training, have made submarining pretty damned safe. that's not to say death isn't just one heartbeat away, as young petty officer Ashley proves. but when an event like this happens within the submarine community, it affects everyone that ever earned and wore his dolphins on his uniform. the immensity of the casualty, and the fact that only one man died, is a testiment to the training and skills of this crew. that they made it back to port at all should be a shining example of all that is right with the navy's submarine program.
i am proud to be counted as part of this community. and as part of this "brotherhood", i grieve that one of ours has fallen while safegaurding our nation.