USS Colorado Seaman honored at state Capitol

For a young man native to a landlocked state, it was a unique ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol, honoring his service out on the ocean. 9NEWS at 6 p.m. 12/14/15.

KUSA - For a young man native to a landlocked state, it was a unique ceremony in the rotunda of the state Capitol, honoring his service out on the ocean.

"Easily to say, this is one of the greatest achievements I've ever done in my life," said U.S. Navy Seaman Brayden Kane.

On Monday, he received what is known as his "Dolphins" pin, which represents his qualifications for service aboard a submarine. Most seamen earn their Dolphins pin over the course of a year -- Kane did it in three months -- in part by serving on other submarines -- while the new USS Colorado is under construction.

"I love Colorado, which is why I volunteered to be on the USS Colorado, so this means the world to me," he said.

Kane's parents said they couldn't be prouder.

"He's always wanted to serve in the Armed Services," his father Michael Kane said.

His mother, Ann, was teary-eyed after the ceremony. 

"Words aren't even there for all the honorable people that were there," she said. "It was incredible."

One of them was the man who placed the Dolphins pin on Kane Aurora resident and retired officer Andy Palenchar.

"It brought back a lot of memories, way back in 1943, when I was also pinned on with my dolphin," he said.

Palenchar is 90 years old and served on a submarine during World War II. He helped rescue several pilots who had been shot down in the Pacific. One of those men went on to become president.

"We got near the individual and I reached down and pulled him aboard," Palenchar said. "When we got him down into the submarine, his name was Lt. Junior Grade George Herbert Walker Bush, who became the 41st president of the United States."

Despite the differences in generations, Palenchar and Kane's ideals of service are timeless.

"That's definitely a once-in-a-lifetime," Kane said of Palenchar presenting him with his Dolphins pin. "Greatest generation to ever live."

The USS Colorado is scheduled to be christened next year. The last vessel to bear the state's name was a World War II-era decorated battleship, which was commissioned more than 90 years ago.

(© 2015 KUSA)


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