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Brothers-in-arms pay respect to USS Fitzgerald sailor who was stationed on Guam

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Lines of sailors paid their respects at Naval Base Guam today in remembrance of seven sailors who perished aboard the USS Fitzgerald over the weekend, including one whose loss hits close to home.

"I'm here for the loss of a friend, Xavier Martin," shared Petty Officer 3rd Class Brian Newman, with Chris Midgley adding, "We worked at the Navy base together."  Both men honored their friend and colleague, Martin, at a memorial mass at Naval Base Chapel Tuesday afternoon. The 24-year-old sailor is one of 7 who perished during the tragic collision between the USS Fitzgerald and cargo ship ACX Crystal off the Coast of Japan on Saturday. His father Darrold Martin devastated by the news.

"That's my only child, that's all I have," he said.

Naval Base Guam commanding officer Captain Hans Sholley said the USS Fitzgerald has close ties to the island. The Navy destroyer has made port visits here many times including as recently Multi-Sail 2017 this March. He said the tragedy is personal for many in Guam's tight-knit naval family.

"Petty Officer Xavier Martin was stationed here at our personnel support detachment and departed here about a year ago," said Sholley. "He still has many shipmates and friends here on the island." Newman continued, "We did car club together, we did car club together before I realized he was in the Navy, we also played video games together every now and again."

 "I was pretty devastated - I didn't think that would happen to anyone that I actually knew or cared about."

An ongoing military investigation hopes to get to the bottom of what went wrong during the fatal accident that happened when most of the ship's crew members were fast asleep. Until then, said Sholley, "I think our message to the community, the naval family that suffered this loss is you're in our thoughts and prayers."

We should add the Fitzgerald 7 have left Japan and are now headed home.

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