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Navy awards Wings of Gold to 3 'heroes' killed in NAS Pensacola shooting

The sailors showed bravery in the face of evil, the Navy said.
Credit: Provided Photos
From left to right: Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, and Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters

PENSACOLA, Fla. — The Navy has posthumously awarded Wings of Gold to all three sailors who were killed during the Dec. 6 shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

The men who died were: 23-year-old Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson of Coffee, Alabama; 19-year-old Airman Mohammed Sameh Haitham of St. Petersburg, Florida; and 21-year-old Airman Apprentice Cameron Scott Walters of Richmond Hill, Georgia. 

A commanding officer previously said when the gunman began firing, the sailors who died showed "exceptional heroism and bravery in the face of evil." They didn't run from the danger. Instead, he said they ran toward it -- and "saved lives." 

The acting secretary of the Navy has proclaimed Ensign Watson as a naval aviator, Airman Haitham as a naval aircrewman and Airman Apprentice Walters as a naval aircrewman.

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“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,” Honorable Thomas B. Modly said.

Modly said the recognition pales in comparison to their "immense bravery in the line of fire."

“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. “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."

Rear Adm. Dwyer said he was deeply saddened by the shooting, and his heart went out to the families and friends of the fallen shipmates.

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Naval Air Forces Vice Adm. DeWolfe H. Miller III expressed condolences, too, calling the sailors "heroes."

"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.”

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