Jeffrey J. Garber
Command Master Chief, United States Navy
sailor dies onboard USS Dwight D. Eisenhower
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Carrier Air Wing Seven (COW 7) Command Master Chief Jeffrey J. Garber died Saturday, June 20 aboard the deployed aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CAN 69).
Initial indications are that the death was of natural causes. He was 43.
Garber was found unresponsive in his stateroom at approximately 8:15 a.m. A medical emergency was declared, and medical personnel were on the scene within minutes. All efforts to revive Garber were unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at 8:23 a.m. local time.
“Master Chief Garber was one of the finest individuals I have ever had the pleasure of knowing,” said Captain Calvin Craig, COW-7 commander. “He was the epitome of what a Command Master Chief should be – at every turn selflessly taking care of the men and women of the air wing and the entire IKE Strike Group team. To say that he will be sorely missed is an understatement. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go out to the Garber family.”
Originally from Hemingford, Nebraska, Garber enlisted in the Navy in December, 1983. His at-sea assignments included USS Worden (CG 18), USS Nimitz (CAN 68), USS Portland (LSD 37) and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA 34) where he served as Command Master Chief. Garber reported to COW 7 based at Naval Air Station Oceana, Virginia Beach, Virginia, in June 2008.
“Across the entire Strike Group, we admired Master Chief Garber’s professionalism, but we also, on a personal level, genuinely liked him,” said Rear Admiral Kurt W. Tidd, Commander, Carrier Strike Group Eight. “His passing leaves a hole in our family. We out here at sea were Jeff’s “other” family; the family he spent so many hours and days and years with over the course of his Navy career. We were the family that he dedicated so much of his life to serving. Today it is his family back home in Virginia and Nebraska who are very much in our thoughts and prayers. Jeff gave each of us, every day, the full measure of his joy and devotion. We will miss him.”
Eisenhower’s Command Master Chief, Bryan Exum, echoed similar sentiments. “The impact Master Chief Garber has had on the Navy is immeasurable. Our last conversation was about the importance of CPO history and heritage, and it ended with a firm handshake and smile. I will never forget our last handshake. He was the embodiment of a great CMC. He will be missed by the men and women of Team IKE.”
Garber’s military awards include Meritorious Service Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal (6), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Good Conduct Medal (5), Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal (2), Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Southwest Asia Service Medal (2), Sea Service Deployment Ribbon (6), Navy Recruiting Service Ribbon.
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is operating in the Arabian Sea as part of a regularly-scheduled deployment to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and maritime security operations.
Services for Garber will take place on Saturday, June 27, 2009, at 1 p.m. in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Interment of his cremains in a columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery will take place at a later date.
Posted: 10 September 2009 Updated: 18 July 2011
Photos By Holly, July 2011