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    Sailors Honor Shipmate during Burial-at-Sea

    As USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69) celebrated the lives of 14 former service members and family members during a burial-at-sea ceremony May 2, its aviation support equipment technicians honored a former production control leading petty officer.
    Shipmates described Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class David Scheller, who passed away Feb. 18, as a caring leader and witty friend.
    Scheller began his military service in January 1999. He served both in the U.S. and overseas, including Naval Air Station Oceana and Aircraft Intermediate Maintenance Department Bahrain, where he advanced to the rank of first class. Aviation Support Technician 1st Class Barlaham Collazos said when he and Scheller first met in Bahrain, Scheller went out of his way to make him feel at home.
    “He welcomed me and brought me into the group,” said Collazos. “I remember he was always checking on people—asking how they were doing, and really listening to what they had to say.”
    Aviation Support Equipment Technician 1st Class Anastasia Bozeman said Scheller’s care for others and attention to detail became essential to his role as the command safety leading petty officer when they worked together at Oceana.
    “He went above and beyond to make sure people were wearing the necessary protective equipment and staying safe in their jobs,” said Bozeman, who worked closely with Scheller as the divisional safety petty officer.
    Scheller coordinated annual safety stand downs where local and base fire and law enforcement personnel participated.
    “He never left anybody behind,” said Bozeman. “But he was also witty and liked to joke around with others, especially once he got to know them.”
    Eventually, Scheller was assigned to Ike, where he and Collazos would work together again, with Scheller taking on the roles of production control leading petty officer as well as troubleshooter, and Collazos working as the divisional leading petty officer.
    “He was sponsoring me, showing me around the ship,” said Collazos. “The friendship that started in Bahrain came full circle four years later. He never stopped being thoughtful. The motto that he lived by was ‘Sailors taking care of Sailors’.”
    Scheller’s wish to be buried at sea reflects a tradition Sailors have followed for centuries. One of Ike’s chaplains, Lt. AJ Striffler, said it is a sign of respect for the service an individual has paid to their community.
    “We recognize that this person gave that sacrifice and is deserving of these honors at this time,” said Striffler. “I think it is an incredible duty and privilege that we get to commit David’s remains. He was an Ike Sailor up until the day he passed. So, we are not only leading out the ritual in the way we are expected, it’s also very personal for us, because we want to honor one of our very own.”
    While a large contingent of Ike Sailors gathered to pay their respects, the funeral especially hit home for Bozeman, Collazos, and the rest of Ike’s aviation support equipment technician first class petty officers. All seven of these Sailors participated in the ceremony.
    “We are a small and tight-knit community,” said Bozeman. “So, just based on the fact that he’s one of us, I would have done it whether I knew him or not. Considering that I do know him, I feel like I owe that to him especially.”
    Collazos said that to the aviation support equipment technicians who knew Scheller, the ceremony represented a chance to honor his life with the same care and attention to detail he championed as a Sailor.
    “As soon as I was informed of the burial at sea, I volunteered,” said Collazos. “To me, it means that I will be able to have his back one more time. I’m going to be here for him because he was there for me when I needed it.”

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    NEWS INFO

    Date Taken: 05.02.2019
    Date Posted: 05.06.2019 08:07
    Story ID: 320836
    Location: ATLANTIC OCEAN

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    Sailors Honor Shipmate during Burial-at-Sea