Navy posthumously awards aviator and air crew wings to 3 sailors killed in Pensacola shooting

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Airman Mohammed Haitham, Ensign Joshua Watson, Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters

US Navy

The Navy has posthumously awarded aviator and aircrewman wings to three sailors killed in last week's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

"The selfless acts of heroism displayed by these young Sailors the morning of Dec. 6 are nothing short of incredible," Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer said in a statement.


"They each embody the warrior ethos we expect and require of all wingmen. There is no doubt in my mind they each would have led the charge in their respective Naval Aviation careers."

On Tuesday, Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly proclaimed Ensign Joshua Watson as a naval aviator, and Airman Mohammed Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters as naval aircrewman, according to a public affairs release. The three sailors died in the Friday attack at Pensacola, where naval aviators and crewman are trained.

Dozens of others were wounded in the attack, which is being investigated by the FBI as an "act of terrorism." The suspected gunman, Saudi 2nd Lt. Mohammed Alshamrani, a foreign student in the training program, was killed by a sheriff's deputy.

Ensign Joshua Watson, a 23-year-old Naval Academy graduate, told first responders where the shooter was even after being shot multiple times, according to his brother. "He died a hero and we are beyond proud," brother Adam Watson wrote on Facebook.

Airman Mohammed Haitham, 19, who went by "Mo," was a high school track star who loved making people laugh. A commander at Pensacola told family members he died a hero, having tried to stop the shooter, according to NPR.

Airman Apprentice Cameron Walters, 21, had always dreamed of joining the Navy, according to his father. He told his father Shane, a Navy veteran himself, that he had followed in his footsteps, according to WTOC-11. "Look at me dad, I'm just like you," Walters said after graduating boot camp.

"Ensign Watson, Airman Haitham and Airman Apprentice Walters are heroes," Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III, commander of Naval Air Forces, said in a statement. "Their actions and sacrifice embodied the competence, courage and character of those who wear Naval Aviation Wings of Gold. These wings were presented in honor of their brave actions and in everlasting memory of their sacrifice."


Soldiers from the 1-118th Field Artillery Regiment of the 48th Infantry Brigade Combat Team fire an M777 Howitzer during a fire mission in Southern Afghanistan, June 10th, 2019. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Jordan Trent)

Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)

Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.

Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.

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Audie Murphy (U.S. Army photo)

Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018

On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.

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A Purple Heart (DoD photo)

Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

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Ships from Destroyer Squadron (DESRON) 23 transit the Pacific Ocean Jan. 22, 2020. DESRON 23, part of the Theodore Roosevelt Carrier Strike Group, is on a scheduled deployment to the Indo-Pacific. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Erick A. Parsons)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Navy and Marine Corps need to be a bit more short-sighted when assessing how many ships they need, the acting Navy secretary said this week.

The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.

"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.

The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.

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Master-at-Arms 3rd Class Oscar Temores and his family. (GoFundMe)

When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.

Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.

"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."

That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.

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