Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Emergency Management (EM) Officer Ray Anthony Edmond Sr., 57, passed away April 9. He was born Feb. 9, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri, to David and Juanita Edmond.
When the family relocated to Flint, Michigan, Ray attended St. Mark’s Baptist Church where he accepted Christ into his life at an early age and was baptized. After graduating from Flint Northwestern High School, he joined the U.S. Navy in 1979.
Following boot camp at Recruit Training Center (RTC) Great Lakes, Illinois and Hull Technician “A” School, Ray reported to USS Nicholson (DDG-982) in Charleston, South Carolina where he advanced to petty officer third class.
From October 1983 to March 1985, he worked as a petty officer second class aboard USS Frank Cable (AS 40) in Charleston.
At that point in his career, Ray realized he enjoyed training junior Sailors and decided to become a recruit company commander and instructor at Recruit Training Center Great Lakes, Illinois in June 1985. There, he taught new recruits damage control, chemical warfare and firefighting tactics. During this tour, he cross-rated to the damage controlman rating and advanced to petty officer first class.
In November 1988, Ray reported to USS Connolly (DD 979) at Naval Station (NS) Norfolk, Virginia where he completed several Middle East deployments during the Iraqi War. He was proud to put on his chief petty officer anchors during this tour.
Reporting to NS Norfolk in in 1993, as a leading chief petty officer, Ray inspected naval vessels, conducted quality assurance and oversaw a preventive maintenance program.
Three years later, he transferred to Afloat Training Group at NS Mayport as a senior damage control inspector.
This job entailed inspecting, assessing and developing training programs and testing damage control readiness of naval vessels within the Atlantic Fleet and foreign U.S. ally naval vessels.
Heading back to sea, Ray reported to USS Chosin (CG 65) in June 1999 as the Senior Enlisted Damage Control Program manager and trainer overseeing all immediate level maintenance and repair of damage control equipment and systems, development and management of damage control training programs for shipboard personnel, and preparing vessels for inspections. He also led security teams aboard captured foreign oil smuggling vessels during Operation Desert Shield.
In February 2000, Ray reported to NAS Jax as the station disaster preparedness coordinator where he directed the EM program. This entailed conducting disaster drills, redesigning the base Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and acting as liaison between the station and city/state EM officials. He retired with 24 years of honorable naval service on Sept. 30, 2003.
Following retirement, he worked for the Florida Department of Health, Office of Disaster Preparedness as the EM planner, trainer and consultant.
This job consisted of overseeing all EM operations, planning and executing disaster exercises and acting as damage assessment team leader during Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne throughout the state.
In 2008, he graduated from Southern Illinois University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Workforce Education/Development and Instructional Design and returned to NAS Jax as the EM officer. Here, he ensured the command could effectively plan, respond, and operate the EOC during any natural or man-made crisis.
Earning his FEMA trainer certification, Ray educated others on their role in EM, making sure the NAS Jax team was prepared during drills, inspections, and real-world incidents. He is credited with developing a comprehensive hurricane/destructive weather plan, used during when Hurricanes Matthew and Irma hit Northeast Florida.
His expertise and dedication to the command earned him recognition as the 2018 NAS Jax Civilian of the Year.
He is survived by his wife, Claribel Vargas-Edmond; sons, Rashan Smith, Ray (RJ) Edmond Jr.; daughters, Qiana Smith, Toni Smith, LaTia (Michael) Thomas, Porshia (Adrian) Mills, Angelina and Angelica Edmond; granddaughters, Hailee Clack, Aminah Thomas, Ayannah Thomas, Amayah Thomas, Sarai Mills and Saylin Mills; grandsons, Princeton Clack, Amari Thomas, Rashan Smith Jr.; sisters, Virdean (Larry) Moore, Debra Edmond, Frankye Edmond (who proceeded him in death), Shannon Edmond and Kenyatta Bleckley; brothers, Derrick (Grace) Edmond and Darwin Edmond; father and mother-in-law Antonio and Expedita Vargas; brothers-in-law Antonio (Gloria) Vargas Jr., Gil (Odalis) Vargas; sister-in-law Altagracia (Claude) Massicott, and a host of aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, cousins, co-workers and friends.