PENSACOLA, Fla. - The U.S. Navy posthumously awarded Wings of Gold to all three sailors killed during the Naval Air Station Pensacola shooting.
On Tuesday, acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas B. Modly proclaimed Ensign Joshua K. Watson as a naval aviator, and Airman Mohammed S. Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron S. Walters as naval aircrewmen.
“It is my honor today to present the Wings of Gold to the families of these three American heroes who were among the first to respond to horrific attacks upon our own naval family and tragically, were also our Sailors who made the ultimate sacrifice in protecting their brothers and sisters in arms,” Modly said in a statement.
He said the posthumous award is symbolic of the goal all three victims strived to achieve during training in Pensacola.
“Airman Haitham, Airman Walters, and Ensign Watson represent the highest virtues of naval aviation, and undoubtedly belong in that great fraternity of selfless service to our Navy, our Department, and our Nation,” Modly added.
Vice Admiral DeWolfe H. Miller III called the men heroes for trying to stop the gunman, identified by the FBI as 21-year-old Saudi aviation student Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani.
“Their actions and sacrifice embodied the competence, courage and character of those who wear Naval Aviation Wings of Gold," Miller said. "These wings were presented in honor of their brave actions and in everlasting memory of their sacrifice.”