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‘I try to live worthy of their sacrifice:’ 37 fallen sailors honored at Naval Station Mayport

MAYPORT, Fla. — Sailors and family members are remembering those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

On Friday, Naval Station Mayport honored 37 fallen sailors who were killed when two Iraqi missiles struck the USS Stark in the Arabian Gulf, 37 years ago.

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Bernard Martin remembers May 17, 1987, like it was yesterday.

“I was there the morning of the attack and myself, and three other gentlemen transferred off that morning,” Martin said.

He left the USS Stark on the same day 37 of his shipmates died.

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“It’s overwhelming. The easiest way to explain it is like somebody ripped your insides out,” Martin said.

That day is a moment USS Stark crew members said they’ll never forget.

“Now since it’s happened, I try to live worthy of their sacrifice,” Martin said.

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Sailors from the 1987 crew of Stark shared memories.

“That was my first real family away from the family that I grew up with,” Martin said.

Family members of those whose lives were lost stood together and honored their heroes.

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Shirley Kendall’s son, Steven, was one of the 37 killed, and 37 years later she still gets choked up.

“I just miss him so much,” Kendall said. “And I want him to be remembered.”

Thirty-seven sailors, forever remembered for their courage and ultimate sacrifice.

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