I feel that my charter today is to celebrate the life of our friend and shipmate Jeff Ammon. 1 had the privilege of being his CO on ALABAMA just a few years ago. 1 like to describe the atmosphere on ALABAMA as a family atmosphere and Jeff was an integral part of making the ship and the family atmosphere a big success!
But first just a few housekeeping items:
Last Friday evening my son, who routinely corresponds with Jeff’s son, woke me up and handed me the phone and asked me if I would speak with Mrs. Ammon. 1 said yes, gave my greetings to Gayle and she immediately said “l would be honored if you would speak at Jeff’s memorial service”. I, of course, said yes. Now that I am fully awake l would like to say that being given the opportunity to celebrate the Life of Jeff Ammon in front of his family, his
shipmates and colleagues is the highest honor anyone has ever given to me. I pray that I can deliver a tribute worthy of Jeff. I will cherish this opportunity for the rest of my life. Jeff had lived an amazing life even though it was cut short. He was a great friend and he was the kind of friend that stands by you when you need somebody to be there. Jeff routinely displayed a relentless and upbeat attitude. He was always a shipmate and he
never complained about helping out a fellow shipmate. As his CO I recall that he was always prepared to execute the complex evolutions for his upcoming watch. He always exercised the utmost patience and respect toward individuals in his division, watch section and his under instruction watches. Also, I have absolutely no recollection of him ever getting mad. Whenever he called me as Officer of the Deck or Duty officer he always made me feel that he
had everything well under control, and I even recall that his voice had a calming influence for me during those many reports and discussions.
The other night I was reviewing his e-mails from the Gulf, they were all typical Jeff Ammon, light hearted, positive and upbeat. I will definitely keep those cherished e-mails from Jeff for the rest of my life.
I can recall that his colleagues could always count on him. He was the one watch officer that could be depended on for a watch relief, and more importantly, he was always ready to relive the watch on time.
He had an eternally optimistic attitude, even when times were tough. I’d bet he’d want us to do the same under these present circumstances. He started the often used term in the Wardroom of shipmate, this was a term that helped loosen up the often overbearing seriousness of the job and helped keep us all upbeat. The first time I heard the term slripmale used in an endearing manner like this was after a particularly difficult engine room casualty fire drill, another highly respected submariner, shipmate Cizin was describing how badly the drill was going and none of the designated personnel were in the right place or with the right equipment and nothing was going right when Shipmate Ammon showed up with the desperately needed damage control gear just in time to put out the fire and make the drill a success.
Jeff’s death was sudden. I remember when I heard the news I simply could not believe it. Jeff was too young but as it slowly occurred to me I have realized that Jeff indeed lived his life wonderfully. Jeff was well-loved and he had done so many good things on earth and had touched the lives of his shipmates and family in so many positive ways. I will forever be grateful to have known and worked alongside Jeff. I will forever be grateful that Jeff was there at the right place and at the right time so many times on A LA BAMA. I will forever be grateful for spending those few years of my life with a friend and shipmate like him. All the memories I have shared with him and our ALABAMA family will forever be cherished and remembered. Jeff will forever live in my heart … In our hearts.
This is not the time for us to grieve his death but it’s our time to celebrate his life. Don’t ever forget Jeff. He wanted to do the best job possible while enjoying his work with his shipmates. So at this moment let’s all think back and remember how Jeff touched our lives. How he made us laugh and how good Jeff was as a person, a husband, a father and a shipmate. This is not the moment for us to shed our tears but we should all be thankful that we were given the chance to have known our friend Jeff Ammon. I don’t think anyone can memorialize him better than the
shipmates that served with him. Here are just a few of the postings I found from ALABAMA shipmates on the Kitsap Sun Website:
I served with Jeff for almost 3 years 011 USS ALABAMA.
He was universally respected and liked. He was a great officer and friend. I have not one negative memory of him; he was a great guy, and an example of our finest. His sacrifice is a very close and personal reminder of what Memorial Day is really about. He and his family have made a sacrifice for our freedoms that we can never repay. Please keep his family in your thoughts and prayers. He was a very devoted family man
and Naval Officer. And this one from a very squared away LOO: I did serve with Jeff back 011 the good ship ALABAMA. We were a tight family from tire wardroom, 10 the Chiefs Quarters to the entire crew. l TA mm on was a fine example of a Naval Officer. He was well liked by everyone onboard. He was a professional, one of the best. He personally taught me a lot about driving a submarine. I will never forget Halo while underway. You will be missed my friend. Fair Winds and Following Seas. From our Weps:
We can never repay for tire loss of people like Jeff. he made the ultimate sacrifice on the front lines defending us, and helping to bring freedom and prosperity to others. We should continue to take up that cause in honor of Iris sacrifice. May You Rest in Peace LT! Thank you for serving our country. A true HERO has been lost!
There arc many other wonderful personal statements about the memory of Jeff at the Kitsap Sun website, I encourage you take the time to look at them.
Finally, just this morning I got this e-mail from our ENG:
I am unable to attend, but just wanted to pass my sincere condolences to the Ammon family. Jeff and I shared a stateroom during our ORSE run in which he also served as the CRA. He was a true professional and provided the kind of leadership to his division that was contagious to the other divisions and JOs. Our department was significantly better because of his leadership, even-keeled outlook, and mall/re attitude. I truly relied on Jeff for his experience and can-do altitude and he was a true shipmate. Again, I can’t express my condolences enough for Gayle and the children. Jeff was a true warrior and I think he touched each of us during our time with him and I know that the Army personnel and the Afghan people that he interacted with would agree. He will be deeply missed. I hope his memory is echoed for he is a true patriot tlrat gave his life for our country. God Bless him and Iris family. By the way, he also recalled the Nagahyde story in his e-mail!
I recall a memorable moment in the HBO TV series Band of Brothers, when, Dick Winters, the phenomenal CO of the now
world famous Easy Company was sharing a moment with his grandson. The grandson asked him “Grandpa were you a hero
during WWII”, he said “no, but I served with a company of heroes”. Many times I have told my new Caterpillar family that I served with an entire boat of heroes. Our Shipmate Jeff Ammon tops that list!
I will close with a quote that I recently found quite by accident while looking for leadership tidbits to inflict on my Caterpillar colleagues. ll is from one of our greatest military leaders who was extremely effective at minimizing his troops combat losses. Also 1 would remind you that his troops were confident in his leadership and they would follow him anywhere:
··it is almostfoolislr and wrong to mourn these men who died. Rather we should thank God that such men lived. ”
·–General George S. Patton Jr.
God bless Jeff Ammon and his family
God bless our great navy and our extended family on USS
God bless the United States