USS George Washington Remembers Fallen Shipmate

The crew of USS George Washington (CVN 73) held a memorial ceremony here April 18 to honor the life of a fallen shipmate, co-worker and friend.

Aviation Structural Mechanic Airman Apprentice Matthew Snow was home on leave visiting family and friends in Florida when he and his girlfriend were attacked in her home.

During the attack, Snow suffered a fatal knife wound. Before he died, Snow was able to call the police from a neighbor’s home.

The ship’s Commanding Officer, Capt. G.J. Fenton, was joined by several of Snow’s closest shipmates before the crew on the ship’s forecastle, where they spoke of Snow’s character and expressed their sympathy and sadness to his family for their loss.

“To each and every one of us, Airman Snow was one of our shipmates,” Fenton said. “Through his contributions as a hard worker and devoted shipmate; this is how I will remember him. While Airman Snow passed away at a very young age, his valiant efforts may have very-well saved the life of his girlfriend.” Fenton added.

“I hope I could show the same courage that he showed when he faced a deadly situation,” said Snow’s division officer, Lt. Thomas Miyano. “I admire what he did.”

The memorial began as bagpipes played “Amazing Grace” followed by opening remarks from Command Chaplain Lt. Cmdr. Young Song.

“This is an opportunity for Sailors to connect with each other and be able to express what’s inside of them with regard to this loss,” Song said. “It’s a great opportunity for them to come forward and open up about it. It gives them a sort of closure in the midst of this tragedy.”

After remarks from his closest shipmates, the ceremony concluded with Snow’s Leading Chief Petty Officer, Senior Chief Aviation Machinist’s Mate L.C. Grissom mustering the jet shop, Snow’s workcenter, with a roll call. When there was no reply from Airman Apprentice Matthew Charles Snow, as his name was called, “Taps” began to play.

Grissom recalled, “He was one of the most honorable Sailors I’ve ever worked with.”

“I would like to extend my personal condolences to Airman Snow’s family and friends, who could not be here with us today,” Fenton noted. “While this loss leaves his family and girlfriend grieving, and leaves all of us deeply saddened, I have no doubt that Airman Snow now resides in a better place; fully rewarded for everything he accomplished during his all-too-short life.”

Naval Today Staff, April 19, 2013