Friends and fellow sailors aboard the USS Nimitz stationed in Bremerton remember Jeremiah Adams, U.S. Navy Electrician’s Mate Nuclear Power 2nd Class as many things, particularly selfless, reliable, hard-working and a friend for life.
The 24-yer-old Illinois resident and 2012 Oswego East High School graduate was found dead May 12 after hikers found his remains near the Gray Wolf Trail near Sequim.
Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King said evidence continues to indicate Adams died from a 300-foot fall after traversing a primitive trail. However, due to the condition of Adams’ body, it could take months to get final results from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office, he said.
Foul play is not suspected, King said.
Adams left for a hike May 4 and didn’t meet up with friends for another hike the next day. Sailors found his car, a 2013 Ford Fiesta, at the Lower Gray Wolf Trailhead on May 7. Multiple search parties investigated the Buckhorn Wilderness for him.
Navy officials said a memorial service was held for Adams on May 21.
Adams joined the Navy in January 2013. Family and friends said he became an avid hiker while serving in Bremerton.
Sabrina Torres, Electricians Mate Nuclear Second Class, said Adams had a to-do list for his life and now she and his friends plan to finish it together on his behalf.
“He had so many likes (dark chocolate and red velvet cupcakes) and hobbies (hiking) because he would start doing anything just to make others happy and feel included,” she said.
But he didn’t yearn for the spotlight, sailors say.
Lt. j.g. Carolyn Ross said Adams never worked for accolades and the spotlight seemed to bother him.
“Whenever I would give him a shout-out, he would try to pawn off all the hard work on another sailor,” she said.
“I know his former Leading Petty Officer, Electricians Mate First Class Deborah Sagapoulatelle, would go out of her way to praise him, get him coined, and put him in for awards as a friendly way to push his buttons.”
Jade Chang, Electricians Mate Nuclear Second Class, said it was humbling to work with Adams because of his wealth of experience and knowledge.
“When I first got to the ship, I asked if he could teach me how to do some maintenance, and he said ‘If you can keep up, you can follow me around,’ so I kept up and learned how to do everything, too,” she said.
Wesley Bailey, Electricians Mate Nuclear Second Class, found Adams to be the “definition of selfless” going out of his way to help others.
“Working with Adams is easily one of the greatest pleasures I’ve had in the Navy,” he said. “Even though I was his [Lead Petty Officer], in ways he taught me way more than I could have ever taught him.
“He constantly challenged me to be a better person both in and out of the workspace. Losing him feels like I just lost a brother. Definitely won’t be the same without him.”
“When he made friends, they were friends for life,” Torres said. “He was good about staying in touch with his friends and would drop whatever he was doing for a friend.”
Adams held a great sense of humor and was quick-witted, friends say.
“He would frequently stand at attention to make others laugh,” said Savanah Erickson, Electricians Mate Nuclear Second Class.
But, he was focused, too, she said.
“When his mind was set to accomplish something, he wouldn’t rest until it was complete,” Erickson said.
Ross trusted Adams “implicitly,” she said.
“I never felt like I needed to have someone second check his work or verify his process because he always knew the right answer and gave 100 percent effort for every task,” she said.
“I knew if I asked him to do something, he would always get it done, to perfection, no matter what the task.”
Torres said Adams would go out of his way to help others but not let them know.
“If someone was in a bad mood he would stick to them and tell them jokes until they cheered up,” she said. “He had a really big heart with a lot of imagination.”
One of the many things about him, she said, was that he loved to learn and kept a book of his favorite inventions and how they worked.
He also loved singing, Chang said, and always sang during cleaning or maintenance.