Sembach Sailors participate in Memorial Day ceremony

by ATC (AW) Sean Russell
Sembach Annex

In what has become an annual tribute to the nation’s fallen military servicemembers, the men and women of Expeditionary Logistics Unit 1 at Sembach, had the honor of participating in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Lorraine American Cemetery in St. Avold, France.

The cemetery is the largest World War II American cemetery and is home to 10,489 fallen heroes who gave their lives during the conflict.

ELU-1 has participated in this annual event for the past four years and once again represented the United States Navy in the Memorial Day ceremony. The unit is comprised of both permanent party stationed at Sembach and deployed Sailors from the Fleet Readiness Center Northwest, Whidbey Island, Wash.

Lt. Cmdr. Carl Hink, officer in charge, stood in formation for the hour-long ceremony and helped present a wreath. He said the Navy’s participation in the event is an honor.

“These Sailors proudly give their time to remember those fighting to liberate France and defend America during World War II,” Commander Hink said. “We are proud to be able to pay our respects to their memory and the sacrifice they so willingly gave in the name of freedom.”

Approximately 1,500 French, American and British citizens attended the ceremony, which also included participants from the U.S. Army, the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Air Forces in Europe Band, the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, the U.S. Army Color Guard and the French Army Forces.

Representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Consul General from Strassbourg, France, were also in attendance. The ceremony was preceded by an F-15 flyover, followed by Honors and an opening prayer.  Guest speakers included Vice Adm. Richard K. Gallagher, U.S. European Command deputy commander, and St. Avold’s Mayor Andre M. Wojciechowski. The ceremony came to a close with a 21-gun salute.