After 33 Years in Navy, Chester Man Retires to Sound of Wedding Bells


Newlyweds Dawn Patillo and Bryan Exum.

During his official retirement ceremony from the U.S. Navy, Chester’s Bryan Exum stunned guests when he proposed to his girlfriend Dawn Patillo, and then promptly went ahead with the marriage ceremony, writes Garland L. Thompson for U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine.

The retirement ceremony was attended by Exum’s fellow alumni from Chester High School, family, and military friends, and was presided over by his Commanding Officer, Vice Admiral Thomas Moore. Exum’s 33 years in the Navy included serving aboard the USS La Salle and USS Stout, as well as the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower.

However, nothing could compare to the moment when Exum took out the ring, and proposed to the stunned Patillo, a move soon followed with another surprise.

Exum took his new fiancée by the hand, and proclaimed, “I want to get married NOW!”

Attendees were then treated to a completely unplanned and unannounced wedding, as the presiding Chief Petty Officer began with “Dearly beloved … ”

After the ceremony, the happily married couple walked out through the traditional Sideboys arch as the call went out: “Command Master Chief Bryan Exum and Wife, departing!”

Read more about this romantic event at U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology by clicking here.

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