Summer, 1955 and my ship was sailing through Okinawan waters, the crew just relaxing on the way to Hong Kong. Quietly 2 older guys, late twenties/early thirties, wearing their dress blues appeared. They walked to and stood by the starboard (right) life railings. It got very quiet.
Suddenly they snapped to ATTENTION and together saluted across the waters. 200 teen-age sailors wondered “What the H**l?” One kid asked a Chief, “What’s going on? Who are they saluting?”
The Chief’s voice, as always, carried across the decks, “They are saluting their old ship, a destroyer that is STILL on Picket Duty. You guys looking OUTWARD are wrong....you must look DOWN..’bout a half mile.”
Dead silence as a couple of hundred teen-age sailors stood to attention, facing starboard and saluting.
In 1960, USS Princeton discovered a US submarine that had been sunk in WWII. We couldn’t retrieve any bodies (too deep and too old), but we had a symbolic burial at sea, complete with rifle salute.
That’s how I’ll be buried.
Summer, 2001 - my Destroyer was sailing to Australia and along the way, whenever we were close to a lost US Navy ship or sub, our Ops Officer informed the crew about the specifics of the battle and we rendered honors.
I hope other ships are still doing this today. Thanks for sharing a great remembrance.
Just damn. These stories still bring a tear or two to my eyes...