35-year-old Chief Engineman Anthony Tuff collapsed while participating in a training run at Fort Monroe — the military installation in Hampton, Virginia.
Tuff was posthumously awarded the higher rank of chief petty officer during a ceremony just one day after he died. A Ford spokesman said the ship’s chiefs honored Tuff by including him among the 45 to join their ranks on Wednesday.
“The empty space you see in the ranks on the other side of the room, that’s Tony’s space,” said Capt. John F. Meier, the Ford’s commanding officer.
According to the Daily Press, Navy hospital corpsmen treated Tuff on the scene Tuesday morning after he collapsed, and he was then transported to a Hampton hospital. Tuff was declared dead at 9:49 a.m., the Navy said in a statement yesterday.
Tuff was assigned to a pre-commissioning unit on the Gerald R. Ford, which is currently docked at Newport News Shipbuilding. Prior to coming to the Ford, Tuff attended the Surface Warfare Officers School in Great Lakes, Illinois.
A native New Yorker, Tuff enlisted in the Navy in 2000 and spent most of his career in Norfolk or Virginia Beach. He did stints aboard the USS Carl Vinson and USS Sacramento.
He’s received numerous awards including two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, and four Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, according to the Press article.
Capt. Meier said during the ceremony: “To the family who lost a son and a brother, to Matthew who lost a father, I can assure you that you gained an entire Chiefs Mess of men and women who will step in to fill the void as best they can.”
The Navy said, an investigation into Tuff’s death is still ongoing.