Carl White’s Life in the Carolinas

Huntersville native spends Memorial Day

Huntersville native spends Memorial Day honoring fallen military members while serving in the elite Ceremonial Guard

May 19, 2022

By Alvin Plexico, Navy Office of Community Outreach


WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the nation pauses this Memorial Day to remember fallen service members, a native of Huntersville, North Carolina, has special responsibilities honoring fallen comrades in the nation’s capital with the U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard.

“I lead the marching element of the ceremonial guard,” said Chief Petty Officer Andrew Klink, who joined the Navy 20 years ago.

Established in 1931, the United States Navy Ceremonial Guard is the official Ceremonial Unit of the U.S. Navy and is based at Naval District Washington Anacostia Annex in Washington, D.C.

According to Navy officials, the Ceremonial Guard’s primary mission is to represent the Navy in Presidential, Joint Armed Forces, Navy and public ceremonies under the scrutiny of the highest-ranking officials of the United States and foreign nations, including royalty. 

Sailors of the Ceremonial Guard are hand selected while they are attending boot camp at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Illinois. Strict military order and discipline, combined with teamwork, allow the Ceremonial Guard to fulfill their responsibilities with pride and determination. They are experts in the art of close order drill, coordination and timing.

Growing up in Huntersville, Klink attended North Mecklenberg High School and graduated in 2001. Today, Klink uses skills and values similar to those learned in Huntersville.

“I learned to try your best, not to settle for good enough,” said Klink.

These lessons continue to help Klink while serving in the military. 

The Ceremonial Guard is comprised of the drill team, color guard, casket bearers and firing party.

Casket bearers carry the Navy’s past service members to their resting ground. Whether it is in Arlington National Cemetery, or another veteran’s cemetery. The firing party renders the 21 Gun Salute, the signature honor of military funerals, during every Navy Funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.

Serving in the Navy means Klink is part of a team that is taking on new importance in America’s focus on rebuilding military readiness, strengthening alliances and reforming business practices in support of the National Defense Strategy.

“As a submariner, I know that we have people in the Navy that do things that no one will ever know about, but we should all be grateful that they’re doing it,” said Klink.

With more than 90 percent of all trade traveling by sea, and 95 percent of the world’s international phone and internet traffic carried through fiber optic cables lying on the ocean floor, Navy officials continue to emphasize that the prosperity and security of the United States is directly linked to a strong and ready Navy.

Klink and the sailors they serve with have many opportunities to achieve accomplishments during their military service.

“I’m proud of graduating dive school in 2014 in Panama City Beach,” said Klink. “The physical conditioning is a big part of the requirements, along with being comfortable in the water.”

As Klink and other sailors continue to train and perform the missions they are tasked with, they take pride in serving their country in the United States Navy.

“After 20 years, serving in the Navy has become my life,” added Klink. “I met my wife in the Navy. My kids were born while I was in the Navy. It’s an important job that has a great deal of honor.”

Posted originally by Navy Office Of Community Outreach


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