USS William P. Lawrence Conducts Burial at Sea
PACIFIC OCEAN – The officers and crew of the guided missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110) took part in a burial at sea ceremony on the ship's fantail to honor veterans, June 21.
The services were conducted by Cmdr. Brandon Burkett, William P. Lawrence's executive officer, and the committal and benediction were given by Lt. Russ Hamilton, the command chaplain.
An honor platoon of 10 Sailors in dress white uniforms stood in ranks on the ship’s flightdeck to honor the deceased.
During the Sunday morning ceremony, the ashes of 10 veterans were committed to the sea.
The traditional three-volley salute was given by William P. Lawrence's honor guard, led by Gunners Mate 1st Class Petty Officer (SW) Aaron Buterbaugh, and heralded each burial.
"Taps" played at the end of the service as both participants and attendees observed the event from the fantail and aft missile deck.
Lt. Andre Cleveland, William P. Lawrence's Weapons Officer, led the detail of five flag bearers and presenters while Cmdr. Walt Mainor, the ship’s commanding officer, and Command Master Chief (SW) Warren Britten received the ensigns on behalf of the families.
Several of the service members buried during the ceremony had served during World War II and Vietnam.
"It was an honor to usher these heroes to their final place of rest,” said Mainor. “The same place where they dedicated their lives to the armed forces and to their country."
Families of the deceased will be given photos and video of the ceremony, a navigational chart with the exact coordinates of the burial and a letter of condolence from Mainor.
Chief Quartermaster Nicholas Smith, who led the honor platoon, later reflected on the ceremony. "We gave them our best because they deserve our best," said Smith.
William P. Lawrence is currently preparing for and conducting local operations off the coast of Southern California as part of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group.