Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew conducts burial at sea

Coast Guard Cutter Munro conducts burial at sea

NORTH PACIFIC OCEAN - The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Munro conducts a burial at sea for former crewmember Seaman Deborah Horttor Sept. 17, 2011. Horttor served aboard Munro from January to November 1981 and passed away Jan. 18, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Coast Guard Cutter Munro.

The Coast Guard Cutter Munro crew conducted a burial at sea ceremony for Seaman Deborah Horttor, a former Munro crewmember, Sept. 17 in the North Pacific Ocean.

Horttor served aboard the Munro from January to November 1981, during a time when women serving afloat was rare. Her ashes were scattered in the North Pacific during the ceremony. She passed away Jan. 18 and is survived by her husband, Tim, and their three children William, Shane and Corey of Chugiak.

The tradition of burials at sea is an ancient practice and has been conducted for as long as people have gone to sea. During the 16th Century the body was sewn in to a weighted shroud, usually sailcloth, and was sent over the side of the vessel in conjunction with an appropriate religious ceremony.

Many burials at sea took place during World War II when naval forces operated at sea for months at a time. Since World War II, many service members, veterans, and family members have chosen to be buried at sea.

The 378-foot cutter Munro is based out of Kodiak and is named after Petty Officer 1st Class Douglas A. Munro, a signalman and the only Coast Guardsman to receive the Medal of Honor.

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