Commander, Submarine Group Two

New York -- Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS) Luis
Maldonado's retirement flag flies at the 9/11 Memorial
in New York. Photo courtesy of Electronics Technician
1st Class (SS) Luis Maldonado.

RSG Sailor, a Native New Yorker, Has Retirement
Flag Flown at 9/11 Memorial

GROTON, Conn. - A Regional Support Group Sailor, a native New Yorker, had his retirement flag flown at the 9/11 Memorial on Jan. 31 to mark 20 years of honorable service in the U.S. Navy.

Electronics Technician 1st Class (SS) Luis Maldonado, born in Bronx, New York, entered the U.S. Navy at the age of 19 during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Maldonado chose to have his flag flown over the memorial to honor not only his service, "but to honor the brave public servants who sacrificed their lives in the Sept. 11 attacks, and to pay homage to all the victims."

"At the time of the Sept. 11 attacks I was at the mid-point in my career," said Maldonado. "While I was angry with what happened to my nation, I was determined to fight back like everyone else, so I decided to reenlist."

Fast forward a decade; Maldonado sits exactly at 20 years of honorable service to his nation. In less than a month, Maldonado will hang up his Navy uniform for the last time. However, before transitioning, he wanted to commemorate his retirement in a unique way. At the same time, he wanted to remember a watershed moment that occurred during his service.

Maldonado was accompanied to the memorial by his mother Evelyn Maldonado, and his wife of 12 years, Kimberly (Struthers) Maldonado, who also retired from the U.S. Navy. Prior to Kimberly's retirement, she served on the staff of Commander, Submarine Group 2. To pay respects to both their services, her flag was also flown over the memorial.

"It's really for both of us to pay our respects and to tell all that died that we haven't forgotten them. We still feel their pain and will stand steadfast in our resolve. We will never forget," said Maldonado.