Sunday, June 10, 2012

R.I.P. - Master Chief Petty Officer Richard J. Kessler Jr.

DOD Identifies Navy Casualty

            The Department of Defense announced today the death of a sailor who was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.

            Master Chief Petty Officer Richard J. Kessler Jr., 47, of Gulfport, Fla., was found deceased in his berthing compartment June 8 on board USS Enterprise (CVN 65).  He was assigned to Enterprise as a logistics specialist.  Enterprise is currently deployed to the Fifth Fleet area of responsibility conducting operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

            For further information related to this release, contact Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/Commander, U.S. Fifth Fleet Public Affairs at 011-973-1785-4027.

from TBO:
By HOWARD ALTMAN | The Tampa Tribune

A sailor from Gulfport was found dead in his berthing compartment aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise in the Middle East on Friday morning, according to a ship spokeswoman.

Master Chief Petty Officer Richard J. Kessler, 47, was found dead in his compartment at 7 a.m. local time, according to Lt. Com. Sarah Self-Kyler.

The cause of death is under investigation, said Navy Lt. Greg Raelson.

"The Navy is deeply saddened by the loss of one of our shipmates," Raelson said. "Our deepest thoughts and condolences go out to his family during this difficult time."

Kessler was the leading chief petty officer for the supply department and oversaw about 500 sailors, according to Self-Kyler.

He was in charge of making sure the Enterprise was fully stocked with food and supplies, said Self-Kyler.

"He was well known on the ship and very well liked by the sailors who reported to him and everyone else," she said.

Despite the death, morale on the ship is strong, said Self-Kyler.

"We are carrying on the way he would have wanted us to," she said.

Kessler joined the Navy in 1984 and has been on the Enterprise since April 2011.

The Enterprise is supporting Operation Enduring Freedom. About 4,800 sailors and Marines are aboard the Enterprise. 

Kessler received several awards during his time in the service:

Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy Commendation Medal (2), Joint Service Achievement Medal, Navy Achieve Medal (4), Army Achievement Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation, Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation, Navy "E" Ribbon, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal w/Bronze Star, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, NATO Medal, Rifle Marksmanship, Pistol Marksmanship
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