MEMORIAL SERVICE FOR THE 47 NAVY MEN WHO GAVE THEIR LIVES ABOARD THE U.S.S. `IOWA'
Those Who Gave Their Lives Aboard U.S.S. `Iowa' (BB-61), April 19, 1989
Tung Thanh Adams, Robert Wallace Backherms, Dwayne Collier Battle, Walter S. Blakey, Peter Edward Bopp, Ramon Jerel Bradshaw, Phillip Edward Buch, Eric Ellis Casey, John Peter Cramer, Jr., Milton Francis Devaul, Jr., Leslie Allen Everhart, Jr., Gary John Fisk, Tyrone Dwayne Foley, Robert James Gedeon, III, Brian Wayne Gendron, John Leonard Goins, David L. Hanson, Ernest Edward Hanyecz, Clayton Michael Hartwig, Michael William Helton, Scott Alan Holt, Reginald L. Johnson, Jr., Brian Robert Jones, Nathaniel Clifford Jones, Jr., Michael Shannon Justice, Edward J. Kimble, Richard E. Lawrence, Richard John Lewis, Jose Luis Martinez, Jr., Todd Christopher McMullen, Todd Edward Miller, Robert Kenneth Morrison, Otis Levance Moses, Darin Andrew Ogden, Ricky Ronald Peterson, Matthew Ray Price, Harold Earl Romine, Jr., Geoffrey Scott Schelin, Heath Eugene Stillwagon, Todd Thomas Tatham, Jack Earnest Thompson, Jr., Stephen J. Welden, James Darrell White, Rodney Maurice White, Michael Robert Williams, John Rodney Young, Reginald Owen Ziegler.
Memorial Service, Naval Base, Norfolk, VA, April 24, 1989
Welcome: VADM J.S. Donnell III, USN, Commander Naval Surface Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet.
The National Anthem: The United States Atlantic Fleet Band.
Invocation: RADM A.B. Koeneman, CHC, USN, Chief of Chaplains.
Pastoral Prayer: CAPT C.R. Coughlin, CHC, USN, Chaplain, COMNAVSURFLANT.
Reflections: CAPT F.P. Moosally, USN, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. Iowa.
Old Testament Reading: LCDR F.A. Thompson, Jr., CHC, USN, U.S.S. Iowa Chaplain.
New Testament Reading: LCDR J.L. Danner, CHC, USN, U.S.S. Iowa Chaplain.
Homily: CAPT J.H. Kaelberer, CHC, USN, Atlantic Fleet Chaplain.
The President: The Honorable George Bush.
Moment of Meditation.
Benediction: The Honorable William L. Ball III, Secretary of the Navy.
Navy Hymn: All Stand and Remain Standing.
Postlude: The United States Atlantic Fleet Band.
Memorial Service Remarks, Capt. F.P. Moosally, Commanding Officer, U.S.S. `Iowa'
I remember turret two.
I remember their faces as they toiled at their guns, sweating an honest sweat that comes from young men dedicated to a great cause. Who chose to serve, to grow and to learn with others, while securing a place in history for generations after them.
I remember their strong hands as they wielded their great charges with an energy I could only marvel at. The energy of their youth which they channeled towards their love of freedom.
I remember as they talked among themselves, looking so much like sailors of our past, sharing the exuberance of the times and the dreams of the future.
I remember turret two.
They were the life, the spirit and the soul of our ship. They embodied the ideals of our history and the hope of a brighter tomorrow. They gave of themselves to the goals we all share, and they made the ultimate sacrifice for us. We will not, nor can we ever forget the lessons they taught us.
The crew of Iowa shared much with turret two. We shared their enthusiasm, their drive and their kindness. We worked side-by-side and shoulder-to-shoulder to build a team, a family, a common bond which can never be broken. And though they have left us in body, they will always remain within us.
We came together in times of trouble. We shared the good and the bad, the comedy, and now the tragedy. The grief we share with you their families, is deep, but we must go on. For we are the crew of Iowa. Permanently fused, like the steel of the ship we sail. Our sides are strong, our towers high and our course is set. We are the Iowa.
A part of every rivet, every plank and every line. We are the ship. She breathes through us, and she lives as a part of us. As long as she sails the seas we will be a part of her, a part of the Iowa spirit. That spirit lives, and the men of turret two will forever be a part of that living spirit.
Homily by Capt. John H. Kaelberer, Atlantic Fleet Chaplain
Grace to you and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Today we remember and honor 47 Navy shipmates who paid the supreme sacrifice for our country. Their names in our program are more than ink upon paper . . . They are sons, husbands and fathers and our great Nation joins with and shares in the grief that the families and the collective family in U.S.S. Iowa experiences.
We reach out to you to express our sympathy, to embrace you physically, and just be with you. Because we care and love you, there is a prayer upon the hearts of your fellow-Americans . . . the prayer that God may grant you His peace and His comfort . . . that He mend your broken hearts.
What happened five days ago in No. 2 turret can not be reversed. All that was important to us on Tuesday such as the dinner menu, employment opportunities, the new dress, a night at the movies or ball game, suddenly became irrelevant on Wednesday morning when radio and TV brought the news of tragedy in U.S.S. Iowa. All that was familiar became unfamiliar, meaningless. Even the Scripture passages read moments ago may seem irrelevant.
The Good Shepherd . . . `Where is He?' . . . You ask as you find yourself deep in the valley of the shadow of death . . . a valley whose walls imprison you in grief. Then the words of the psalmist come to you again, words you have heard hundreds of time, but today they come as God's light, love, and peace to your heavy heart: `Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for Thou art with me.' Then, perhaps, you feel yourself wrapped in helplessness, as you see yourself as a sheep, that is trapped . . . in need of a shepherd. But you need not panic or feverishly search for the shepherd. He has been with you all the time and not for a split-second has He ceased to be the Good Shepherd. He is the only meaning, comfort, peace, and help that you can take hold of.
To the Jew the Good Shepherd is shalom which means not only peace but completion, wholeness comfort . . . all that gives meaning to life.
To the Christian the Good Shepherd is Jesus. In John 10:11 Jesus said: `I am the Good Shepherd.' And as Good Shepherd He it is who prepares places in God's heavenly mansions, and who promises that where He is, we may be also . . . all through His resurrection power!
Yes, dear people, there is hope and comfort. Your loved ones, our loved ones, in the line of duty gave their lives for our country. They now know the God who breathed life into them when they were conceived in their mother's wombs. May we, who yet walk in this life know God who is our Creator/Saviour/Lord and know the comfort and the peace which at a time like this, He alone can give.
-- -- [Page: S4516]
Remarks by President Bush
We join today in mourning for the 47 who perished, and in thanks for the 11 who survived. They all were, in the words of J.J. Rooney, `the men behind the guns.'
They came from Hidalgo, Texas, and Cleveland, Ohio; from Tampa, Florida, and Costa Mesa, California. They came to the Navy as strangers; served the Navy as shipmates and friends; and left the Navy as brothers in eternity. In the finest Navy tradition, they proudly served on a great battleship--the U.S.S. IOWA.
This dreadnought, built long before these sailors were born, braved the wartime waters of the Atlantic to take President Roosevelt to meet Winston Churchill in Casablanca, and anchored in Tokyo harbor on the day World War II ended. The IOWA earned 11 battle stars in two wars.
October of 1944, off the coast of the Philippines. I can still remember. For those of us serving on carriers in Halsey's 3rd Fleet, having the IOWA nearby really built our confidence. I was proud to recommission the IOWA in 1984. Now fate has written a sorrowful chapter in the history of the U.S.S. IOWA.
Let me say to the IOWA crew, I understand your grief. I, too, have stared at the empty bunks of lost shipmates, and asked, `Why?' I promise you today, we will find out `why'--the circumstances of the tragedy. But, in a larger sense, there will never be answers to the questions that haunt us. We will not--we cannot, as long as we live--know why God has called them home.
But of one thing we can be sure--this world is a more peaceful place because of the U.S.S. IOWA. The IOWA has recommissioned, and her crew trained, to preserve that peace. So never forget that your friends died for the cause of peace and freedom.
To the Navy community, remember that you have the admiration of America for sharing the burden of grief as a family--especially the Navy wives, who suffer most of the hardships of separation. You have always been strong for the sake of love. You must be heroically strong now. But you will find that love endures. It endures in the lingering memory of time together, in the embrace of a friend, in the bright questioning eyes of a child. And, as for the children of the lost, throughout your lives, you must never forget: Your father was America's pride.
Your mothers and grandmothers, aunts and uncles, are entrusted with the memory of this day. In the years to come, they must pass on to you the legacy of the men behind the guns.
To all who mourn a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend--I can only offer you the gratitude of a Nation, for your loved one served his country with distinction and honor.
All Americans hope that our sympathy and appreciation provide some comfort. But true comfort comes from faith and prayer.
Your men are under a different command now, one that knows no rank, only love; knows no danger, only peace. May God bless them all, these men behind the guns.
And may God bless the U.S.S. IOWA, and all who walk her deck.
Benediction by the Honorable William L. Ball III, Secretary of the Navy
Before we take leave now--one from another--we pause to thank you for your presence here and for your sustaining watchcare over those of our Navy family whose loss we mourn.
We pray that You will bestow upon us the will, compassion, and humility that you enable us to draw strength from each other. It is from that strength that we will renew our faith O Lord--and then from that faith may we seize upon hope.
Be with our President as he leaves us now and shoulders the burdens we have placed on him. Sustain within him the qualities that are your special gift to him--and that bring from his heart those words that console us today.
It is our prayer that you will guide to him our thoughts as a Nation in sorrow--that we may behold all that is noble in the sacrifice of these 47 men of IOWA--and that we may reflect as a Nation on the precious heritage and the national treasure that these sailors and their shipmates represent.
Finally, Lord, we ask most earnestly that you insure that those men taken from us know from this moment and forevermore how proud we are to have had each of of them serve under our Flag. We know not where we find such good and able men who came forward to serve at sea. We know only Lord that we trust in you and we have them here by your grace and through your love for us.
Help us to honor them as we leave here with the vow that we shall never forget the price they have paid and the purpose for which they have paid it. For it is in Thy Holy Name that we ask it. Amen.
Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep,
O hear us when we cry to thee
For those in peril on the sea!
And when at length her course is run,
Her work for home and country done,
Of all the souls that in her sailed
Let not one life in thee have failed;
But hear from heaven our sailor's cry,
And grant eternal life on high! Amen.