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    SUBASE joins in Bells Across America



    Story by Petty Officer 3rd Class Maxwell Higgins 

    Subase New London

    GROTON, Conn. – A bell somberly tolled over the Thames River as Naval Submarine Base (SUBASE) New London joined in the seventh annual “Bells Across America for Fallen Service Members” and held a special ceremony at the Submarine Force Museum, Sep. 22.
    The event took place during Gold Star Remembrance Week and recognized Gold Star families as well as paid tribute to their lost loved ones. Gold Star families are those families of service members who lost their lives while in uniform. The ceremony was held within the Submarine Force Museum and was just one of many that took place at various locations across the nation.
    April Tischler, the Navy Gold Star Program Coordinator who serves the families of the fallen in the New England and New York region, and works from SUBASE New London’s Fleet and Family Support Center, spoke of the history and significance of the gold star.
    “Gold Stars date back more a century,” said Tischler. “The star tradition began in World War I when white service flags were displayed from homes, businesses, schools and churches. The flags indicated by the use of a blue star each active service member in the U.S. Military. A gold star stitched over a blue star showed the nation who had given their lives for their country and it highlighted the devotion and pride of those left behind.”
    Historic Ship Nautilus (SSN 571) Officer-in-Charge Lt. Cmdr. Derek Sutton spoke of the families impacted.
    “Gold Star families are all-encompassing,” said Sutton. “They are parents who live with the loss of a child, siblings who forever mourn a lifelong friend, spouses who carry an emptiness that cannot be filled, and children who know a sorrow that defies comprehension.”
    The parading of the colors by Naval Submarine School’s Silver Dolphins color guard and a moving prayer by SUBASE New London Command Staff Chaplain Lt. Kenneth Bomberger preceded the tolling of the bell for the fallen.
    Bell ringer was EMN1 (SS) David Swenson tolled the bell, once per name, for the 30 fallen service members read by SUBASE Commanding Officer, Capt. Kenneth M. Curtin Jr.
    “Here at SUBASE, dedicating Gold Star Family Field and this Seventh Annual, Bell Across America Remembrance Ceremony are what we consider small ways that we can honor and remember our Gold Star Families,” said Curtin.
    One such family in attendance was Michael, Jolee and Sienna Hicks, whose son and brother, Macoy, served as an Aviation Boatswain’s 3rd Class in the U.S. Navy.
    “Prior to losing Macoy we had no idea how difficult military life is for many of our service members,” said Hicks. “They are faced with heavy demands, struggles with being away from family, toxic commands, military sexual trauma, survivor’s guilt and so much more.”
    Curtin was honored to participate in the event and the meet the Gold Star families in attendance like the Hicks’.
    “Today, we pay solemn tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice,” said Curtin. “Sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers, husbands and wives, they were all patriots and with a devotion to duty that goes without equal.”
    The names tolled at the ceremony were: Seaman Nicholas Barrett (USN), Petty Officer 3rd Class Douglas Robert Beichner (USN), Chief Petty Officer Brian Robert Bill (USN), Lieutenant Andrew Jason Brooks (USN), Seaman John William Jay Burkhardt (USN), Seaman Apprentice Robert Chouinard (USN), Petty Officer 1st Class Christopher Michael Colafati (USN), Seaman Tyler Joseph Connely (USN), Seaman R -Jay Edward Joseph Domondon (USN), Petty Officer Second Class Dustin Louis Doyon (USN), Chief Petty Officer Paul Henri Durocher (USN), Seaman Morgan Louis Hayman (USN), Lieutenant Benjamin Kirk Frederick (USN), Petty Officer Third Class Macoy Hicks (USN), Seaman Apprentice Brian Gibbons (USN), Commander Keith Franklin Gillette Jr. (USN), Lieutenant Cameron Neal Hall (USN), Lieutenant Commander John Wesley Harvey (USN), Petty Officer 1st Class Elizabeth Claire Kingsland (USN), Lieutenant Jason P. Kreutter (USN), Lieutenant Cameron Neal Hall (USN), Seaman Mario O‘Brian Patterson (USN), Midshipman Jennifer Marie Powers (USN), Seaman Tyrone K. Rowe (USN), Petty Officer Third Class Marcus Robert Averelle Steward (USN), Petty Officer Third Class Terrence Joseph Salat II (USN), Master Chief Benjamin Nathan Shafer (USN), Petty Officer Second Class Ian Robert Calvin Sullivan (USN), Petty Officer Third Class Brendan Sullivan (USN), Lieutenant Junior Grade Francis L. Toner IV (USN), Commander Francis Thomas Williams (USN)



    Date Taken: 09.22.2022
    Date Posted: 09.27.2022 10:47
    Story ID: 430158
    Location: NEW LONDON, CT, US 

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