Cmdr. Mark Schwartzel, left, commanding officer for Navy Customs Battalion TANGO of the Logistics Support Group, placed a coin on a memorial display for Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Jeffries, of Honolulu, while Master Chief Petty Officer Reed Van Wagoner of Provo, Utah, waited to place his coin at a memorial service held at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, yesterday. Jeffries, 52, from Honolulu, died Dec. 31 from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident outside Kuwait City on Christmas Eve.
Sailor left his mark
Jaclyn King never got a chance to thank Petty Officer 1st Class Victor Jeffries for the Christmas gift he gave her.
King, a petty officer second class assigned to the Navy Expeditionary Logistics Support Group Kuwait, said Jeffries always used to put spiders on her desk to tease her, according to a Navy news release.
"But on Christmas Eve before (the accident) happened, this time he left me my Christmas gift," she said in the release. "And he's not going to be able to come back and I can't tell him thank you, and I just miss him."
A memorial service was held yesterday in Kuwait for Jeffries, 52, of Honolulu, who died New Year's Eve from injuries suffered during a Christmas Eve vehicular accident in Kuwait.
"I am very thankful to have been able to serve in the Navy with him," King said. "His spirit has blessed me and made me a stronger person, and I'm thankful for it."
Jeffries, a naval reservist, deployed to Kuwait in October and worked as a mass communications specialist. The New York native also is a former physical education teacher with the state Department of Education.
Jeffries began his military service in 1984 with the U.S. Coast Guard, the Army and eventually the Navy. During his last assignment at Pearl Harbor as a Navy reservist, he maintained and operated small boats and equipment used by the SEALs.
"He believed in the saying, 'Everyone has to start somewhere,'" said 1st Lt. Greg Suguitan, who is from Lanai. "You have to make your mark, make strides and prove yourself. That's why he loved to teach."
Jeffries was remembered by fellow sailors as a dedicated serviceman.
"He was fully engaged in the public-affairs mission and loved the interaction with both sailors and soldiers alike," said Cmdr. Mark Schwartzel, commanding officer for Navy Customs Battalion TANGO of the Logistics Support Group.
Jeffries' awards include the Navy Reserve Meritorious Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal with bronze service star, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary and Service medals, and the Navy Unit Commendation Medal.
He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, and two daughters, Keshia and Chantel. Services in Honolulu are pending.