Nimitz holds memorial for naval officer killed on Highway 16

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by AMY MORENO / KING 5 NEWS

KING5.com

Posted on January 27, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 27 at 7:42 PM

BREMERTON, Wash. -- The memorial for a naval officer killed in a crash on Highway 16 this week was held Friday on the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier.

Navy Lieutenant Commander Regina Mills, 44, was helping assist a motorcyclist who crashed on Highway 16 near the Burnham Drive overpass early Monday morning. After getting out of her car, another vehicle hit a patch of black ice and lost control, striking and killing her.

Mills served on the U.S.S. Nimitz as the aircraft handling officer, meaning she was responsible for aircraft arrangement on the flight decks. She was originally from Louisville, Kentucky.

Mills broke new ground for women in the U.S. Navy, the first and only woman to serve in the fleet as an aircraft handling officer. In that job, Mills was responsible for orchestrating the comings, goings and parking sports for planes on the Nimitz.

At Friday's memorial service, Mills was remembered by her colleagues as "a superb Naval officer who stood head and shoulders above her peers throughout her career," according to Capt. Paul O. Monger, the massive ship's commanding officer.

For her daughter, the loss is still hard to believe, but she said she is proud that even in her final moments Mills put others first.

"We were supposed to grow old together," daughter Cherie Ayer said. "She was supposed to retire, we had planned to do things. But the fact that she was trying to help someone out, it was amazing."

Mills was new to the Puget Sound region, relocating to Everett as the Nimitz this month shifted home ports from San Diego to Bremerton for a one-year renovation project. After that work is done, the carrier will be based in Everett.

A state trooper who was injured in the accident that killed Mills attended today's memorial.

Below is the program for the memorial service. See also a video tribute to Mills from some of her shipmates.

LCDR Regina Mills Memorial Program

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