Posthumous Promotions for Enlisted Sailors Killed In Pensacola Shootings

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Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, center, and Navy Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, look on as an Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. A Saudi gunman killed three people including Haitham in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly, center, and Navy Adm. Michael Gilday, Chief of Naval Operations, look on as an Air Force carry team moves a transfer case containing the remains of Navy Seaman Mohammed Sameh Haitham, of St. Petersburg, Fla., Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, at Dover Air Force Base, Del. A Saudi gunman killed three people including Haitham in a shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

The Navy on Saturday announced the "right and fitting" posthumous promotions of two enlisted sailors who tried to stop a deadly shooting rampage at Naval Air Station Pensacola Dec. 6.

Airman Mohammed S. Haitham, 19, of St. Petersburg, Florida, and Airman Apprentice Cameron S. Walters, of Richmond Hill, Georgia, were both advanced, effective Dec. 12, to the rank of Naval Aircrewman Mechanical 3rd Class, the Navy said in a release.

Haitham, Walters and Ensign Joshua Kaleb Watson, 23, of Enterprise, Alabama, were killed when Saudi 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire with a legally purchased Glock 45 9mm handgun in a classroom building, according to the FBI.

Capt. Timothy Kinsella, the base commander, has said that all three took actions to try to stop the shooter and saved "countless lives" as a result.

Eight others were injured in the attack.

Acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly echoed Kinsella's sentiments in a released statement.

"These sailors exhibited the finest warrior ethos and quick decision-making that undoubtedly saved many lives," he said. "They took action when it was needed most, with the same skill and professionalism that they'd exhibited throughout their service to our nation."

"These young Sailors represent the best of who we are as a Navy. It is right and fitting that we posthumously advance them to petty officers," Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Gilday said.

Naval Aircrewmen Mechanical perform in-flight and ground duties as aircraft flight engineers, loadmasters, crew chiefs, reel operators and aircraft readiness managers, the Navy said.

Earlier this week, Modly announced that Haitham and Walters were being awarded coveted Wings of Gold as naval aircrewmen. He also proclaimed Watson, a recent U.S. Naval Academy graduate, a naval aviator, and awarded him Wings of Gold.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@Military.com.

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