SAN DIEGO (NNS)- The amphibious transport landing dock ship USS Cleveland (LPD 7) conducted a burial at sea ceremony, Jan. 17.

Twenty deceased service members and family members were honored during the ceremony, some of whom had served as far back as World War II.

The ceremony was led by Lt. Todd Fowler, Surface Force Ministry Center chaplain, and was attended by an honor detail, including Capt. S. Robert Roth, USS Cleveland commanding officer; and several members of the ship's crew.

The ceremony started with an invocation prayer followed by a short speech from Roth.

"The tradition of a burial at sea is an ancient one," said Capt. Roth. "It is fitting to recognize today their passing on board the Navy's oldest surface line ship. As we commit these loved ones to the deep, let's remember that this ceremony is an opportunity to renew our dedication to our nation, service, and to each other."

The ceremony continued with the reading of a lesson and short scripture, and finished with the committal of the remains, a rifle salute, and the playing of "Taps."

The rendering of military honors for burials at sea is a time-honored tradition. The United States regards the burying of its military dead as a solemn and sacred obligation. The participation of USS Cleveland's crew in the funeral honors played a vital role in fulfilling the nation's obligation to pay tribute to those who have served so honorably.

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