3RD PLACE, "Sailors Covered and In Prayer" by Candice Baker
"Sailors Covered and In Prayer"
In prayer upon the USS Sentry, Sailors observe their ship’s Change of Command. Because of coronavirus social distancing requirements, many are not authorized in the bridge to attend the intimate ceremony. Instead, these Sailors will watch through a window.
Cover, gather, disperse.
I was tasked with documenting the USS Sentry (MCM-3) Change of Command, ported in the Arabian Gulf upon Naval Support Activity Bahrain. On any typical day, the handing over of command would draw over a hundred attendants, surrounded by an outdoor festival of naval pageantry. Because of COVID-19 regulations, the US Navy permitted only an intimate gathering upon the bridge of the ship.
Spouses and children stepped outside their homes to confront the enemy without a face. While any trace of tears soaked into the smile stifling material, families and shipmates stood alongside each other to celebrate, in whatever capacity authorized.