PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii - The crew of guided-missile destroyer USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) honored Sailors of the Fletcher-class destroyer USS Sigsbee (DD 502), April 16.
The ceremony was held on Chung-Hoon's forecastle to pay respects to the 23 Sailors whose lives were lost when a kamikaze suicide plane struck Sigsbee April 14, 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa.
"Today we are here to honor and commemorate the remarkable crew who served and in some cases died on 14 April 1945 on USS Sigsbee during kamikaze attacks off the coast of Okinawa," said Cmdr. Justin Orlich, commanding officer of Chung-Hoon.
During the ceremony Chung-Hoon's ceremonial guard conducted a 21-gun salute, a U.S. Pacific Fleet bugler played taps and Sailors offered Hawaiian leis off the side of the ship into the water to pay tribute to the perished Sigsbee Sailors.
Logistics Specialist 3rd Class (SW) Krystal Spencer, assigned aboard Chung-Hoon, was one of the Sailors who paid tribute by dropping a Hawaiian lei in the water. She said she was very happy to be part of the ceremony and to continue to honor the Sailors aboard Sigsbee.
"Every year the ceremony gets better and better and this one is the best one yet," said Spencer.
In command of Sigsbee at the time of the attack was then-Cmdr. Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon. The attack knocked the ship's port engine and steering control out of commission and caused the starboard engine to be capable of running at only five knots.
Sigsbee was later towed out of the war zone to Guam where she was sufficiently repaired to be towed back to Pearl Harbor. The ship was decommissioned March 31, 1947 in Charleston, S.C.
Orlich spoke about the strong ties that Chung-Hoon and Sigsbee have.
"The Sailors that served aboard Sigsbee are no different than the Sailors that stand before you today," said Orlich. "The nation at the time, as it is now, was at war, and many joined the Navy with a sense of patriotism and service. Like us Sailors today, they had families and loved ones who were missed when they went to sea. The Pacific Rim during WWII remains today a strategic focal point for world commerce and resources."
USS Chung-Hoon was named in honor of Rear Adm. Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon. Chung-Hoon is a recipient of the Navy Cross and Silver Star for conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary heroism as commanding officer of Sigsbee from May 1944 to October 1945. Chung-Hoon was also a Pearl Harbor survivor, assigned to the battleship USS Arizona during the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.
"We do ceremonies like this to reemphasize our connections with the past," said Chung-Hoon Executive Officer Cmdr. David Faught. "Sadly most of the greatest generation is slowly and surely fading away. Ceremonies like this today is in keeping with our traditions and heritage of our past to remember what it is that makes the Navy in our country so great."