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Navy posthumously advances Pensacola shooting victims

The Navy posthumously advanced two enlisted sailors killed by a Saudi gunman last week at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Effective Dec. 12, Airman Mohammed S. Haitham and Airman Apprentice Cameron S. Walters were boosted to naval aircrewman mechanical third class, according to a Pentagon statement emailed to Navy Times.

A fellow student preparing to enter flight training, Saudi Royal Air Force 2nd Lt. Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani opened fire on a Naval Aviation Schools Command classroom Dec. 6, killing Haitham, Walters and Ensign Joshua K. Watson.

“These sailors exhibited the finest warrior ethos and quick decision-making that undoubtedly saved many lives,” said Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly in the statement.

“They took action when it was needed most, with the same skill and professionalism that they’d exhibited throughout their service to our nation.”

Modly previously awarded Haitham and Walters Wings of Gold, posthumously designating them naval aircrewmen.

If they had not been killed before graduation, the sailors would have become members of a team comprised of fixed-wing aircraft flight engineers, crew chiefs, loadmasters, reel operators and aircraft readiness managers.

“These young sailors represent the best of who we are as a Navy,” added Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Michael Gilday. “It is right and fitting that we posthumously advance them to petty officers.”

The Navy also reported on Saturday that hospital physicians had discharged the last of eight unnamed patients injured in the shooting.

But Naval Air Station Pensacola remains shuttered to everyone without official an Department of Defense identification card, including visitors to the Pensacola Lighthouse and Maritime Museum.

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