DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY
IN REPLY REFER TO:
Ann H. Hanson
(address removed from website)
Dear Mrs. Hanson,
1. The remains of your husband, the late Captain Ralph M. Hanson, USN, were committed to the sea as per your request.
2. Your husband's remains were brought to USS FITZGERALD (DDG 62) on 30 March 2002, while in port San Diego, California at the direction of COMNAVSURFPAC.
3. USS FITZGERALD departed San Diego at 0930, 1 April 2002, to conduct training exercises in support of our nation's commitment to freedom of the seas. Your husband spent many years in service to his country and it was a fitting choice that he be committed from the deck of a proud ship so employed.
4. The burial at sea ceremonies took place on the ship's deck on 2 April 2002 at 1002 in the morning. Conforming to naval tradition, the ship was stopped, colors displayed at half-mast, and the participating officers and crew were paraded in Summer Dress White uniforms. The morning was brisk with a 55-degree temperature and slight winds and calm seas. Under these favorable conditions, both the religious and military ceremonies were conducted with dignity and solemnity. The ship's Executive Officer, Lieutenant Commander Michael P. Watson, U.S. Navy was the military commander of the ceremony. I, as the Commanding Officer, performed the religious ceremony and the committal. A seven-member rifle squad with Petty Officer Sterle as Officer in Charge, and a flag bearing honor platoon were formed from the crew of USS FITZGERALD.
5. Photographs and video of the ceremony were taken and are now presented to you. Enclosed along with the flag is a cartridge from each of the three volleys of the rifle salute and a chart showing the location of the ship at the time of committal.
6. The officers and crew of USS FITZGERALD are proud and honored to have had an opportunity to participate in Captain Hanson's committal ceremony. Please accept my personal warm regards and sincerest sympathy in your time of great loss.
John P. Neagley