By Mr. Frederick Rice (SDDC)June 18, 2018
Nearing the end of a retirement ceremony held in his honor, U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jason Brianas confidently faced Navy Capt. John Duenas and followed the ceremonial rite of passage when one completes their naval career by asking, "Sir…permission to go ashore?"
"Permission granted; go ashore," responded Duenas, knowing that another Sailor had completed a long and successful journey.
Surrounded by family and friends, Brianas concluded a career spanning 21 years of service and bid farewell during a ceremony full of Navy heritage and tradition June 7 at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
Following Navy customs, Brianas' ceremony began with the Boatswain piping the official party onto the stage, a tradition that both opens and closes the ceremony. The official party is whistled aboard by the "Side Boys," a Navy tradition that has a storied past.
When high ranking officers visited ships, they would be brought on board the ship by the crew raising the Boatswain's Chair, which required Sailors to manually raise and lower the chair, and is where the term "Side Boys" originated.
During the raising and lowering of the chair, the Boatswain's Mate would blow appropriate whistle commands to the Side Boys, enabling a safe and proper boarding.
Throughout the ceremony, Brianas' steadfast service and outstanding achievements were lauded as a career well worth celebrating.
Selected in 2015 for a joint tour of duty with the Military Surface Deployment and Distribution Command (SDDC), Brianas served as chief of operations and chief of exercises, readiness and training in SDDC's Operations Directorate.
"In the spirit of joint service, it's quite fitting that my final assignment as a Navy officer was with an Army unit located on an Air Force base," said Brianas.
After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1997 with a degree in economics, Brianas reported to his first assignment on the USS OAK HILL (LSD 51) and achieved his Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) designation.
He served numerous sea tours, including assignments on the USS GEORGE WASHINGTON (CVN 73), USS PAUL HAMILTON (DDG 60), and USS THEODORE ROOSEVELT (CVN 71), as well as land-based assignments in Tennessee, Virginia, Kuwait and Djibouti, among others.
During the ceremony, Brianas was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal and the Ancient Order of Saint Christopher, among other awards, to recognize his exceptional service and dedication to SDDC, the U.S. Army and Navy, and the Department of Defense.
Brianas' wife Lea and children Meghan, Nathan, Alexander and Anastasia proudly sat in the audience, watching as their husband and father was celebrated for the type of Sailor and man he was throughout his career.
Lea was recognized with the Order of Saint Patronus Rotae (Patron of the Wheel) for her selfless dedication to, and support of, her husband's career, while she and the children all received certificates of appreciation from the Navy.
Brianas' parents, Dr. James and Lolaine Brianas, were also present to celebrate the important occasion, along with brothers Greg, Chris, Jon and Stephen.
At the end of the ceremony, after receiving permission from Duenas to "go ashore," Brianas paused as the Boatswain was instructed to "pipe the side."
With the sound of the Boatswain's pipe and four rings of the bell in the background, Brianas went ashore for the final time as he heard, "Commander, United States Navy, Retired, Departing."