June 11, 1999
By: Daniel Muñoz
STAFF LA PRENSA SAN DIEGO
Piping Ashore" is a historical
and traditional Naval Ceremony that began in the 1700's. With
the ship's Bos'n Mate manning the Bos'n pipe, to control the actions
of the sailors hosting manning the lines, visiting officers were
brought aboard in a basket from a small boat... "Sideboys"
were assigned to assist in the hoisting and to swing the basket
aboard. The more senior officers were generally more stout and
normally required more "Sideboys."
These days the "Piping Ashore" is reserved for both officers and enlisted men who have completed a career serving their country in the highest traditions of the Naval Service. There are no `baskets" involved in today's updated Piping Ashore" ceremony. Now the retiree passes by the "Sideboys," who salute as the Bos'n Mate Pipes him ashore... Traditionally the retiree requests permission to "go ashore" for the last time symbolizing then end of a naval career.
The retirement of Captain Mauricio Aparicio, III of the Nurse Corp U.S.N. June 4, 1999 was traditional to a certain degree. Captain Aparicio however was determined to add a few touches to the ceremony that would reflect his Hispanic traditions and culture. To the delight of his large extended family and the assembled Shipmates, at the conclusion of the "Piping Ashore" ceremony, in all its traditional trappings, the Captain was met with the stirring sounds of a Mariachi group greeting Captain Apa-ricio to his new civilian duty station... the City of San Diego!
A special touch to the retirement ceremony came when local resident, retired Master Chief Petty Officer Ali Trevino read "Old Glory" during the Flag Presentation to Captain Aparicio. The passing of the flag which was flown over Headquarters 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment at Camp Pendleton, in memory of his heroic service during the Tet offensive in Hue City. He wears the Purple Heart for wounds that he received while serving as the "GRUNT" Corpman for the 2nd platoon of "Fox" company. The flag also was flown at the Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. and at the Beirut Memorial at Jacksonville, North Carolina for his actions during the bombing of the Marine Barracks by terrorist in Beriut, Lebanon with the resulting death of 221 Marines and Sailors being killed, and 165 wounded. That flag was presented to Captain Aparicio after being passed through the hands of officers and Enlisted personnel representing every rate and rank that he had achieved during his 30 years of service.
In another special touch, Captain
Aparicio had contacted two of the Marines, now civilians, whose
lives, he had risked his own to save. He asked them to assist
him in presenting this flag to his Mother who had made the most
difficult sacrifice of all... the giving up of her son to the
United States Navy. It was an emotional moment for all present.
The Aparicio family from Texas joined in the retirement celebration.