Hundreds Pay Tribute to Fallen Navy Sailor
The life of a Navy Sailor was celebrated during a Catholic Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Philadelphia Aug. 18.
Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Michael Strange, 25, was one of 22 Naval Special Warfare personnel killed in a helicopter crash in Afghanistan Aug. 6.
More than 200 services members from the Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard and Marine Corps; more than 200 Philadelphia police officers; Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter; and family and friends filled the cathedral to pay respect to Strange's family and friends.
Cardinal Justin Rigali was the celebrant of the mass.
After the mass, a ceremony was held in Logan Circle where Strange's mother Elizabeth Strange, father Charlie Strange Jr. and fiance Brianna Hostetler were presented American flags.
A Navy honor guard rendered a three volley salute. Guests bowed their heads as "Taps" played followed by "Amazing Grace" performed by the police and firefighters of the Highland Bagpipe and Drum Band.
"Mike was my best friend and a brother to me. He was the best guy I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. He was an honorable service member, and a silent warrior who excelled in the Navy and in life," said Cryptologic Technician (Collection) 1st Class Ian Regnier.
"Mike was killed doing what he loved. He died serving alongside some of the finest men this country will ever see. Not a day will pass where we won't think of Mike, and thank him for the ultimate sacrifice he made for our country and us," said Maggie O'Brien, Strange's aunt. "We've received tremendous support from the U.S. Navy, Philadelphia Police Department and our community here, and for that, we are so thankful. We thank you for joining us today and know you will help us keep Mike's spirit alive for years to come."
"We grieve for all of them, and admire their teamwork, commitment and courage. We are truly blessed that such men answer a call to military service at the highest levels of professionalism and capability, but also deeply saddened by their loss," said Commander, Naval Special Warfare Command, Rear Adm. Sean A. Pybus.
Article by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (SW/AW) Sara Bitter, Naval Special Warfare Public Affairs