About 500 people attended a memorial service Thursday for Petty Officer 2nd Class Joseph Allen Ashley, who died from injuries suffered when the submarine USS San Francisco ran aground Jan. 8.

Those attending the service, held in the chapel on U.S. Naval Base Guam, included fellow crewmembers, other members of Submarine Squadron 15 and their families.

“It was standing-room only,” said Lt. Commander Jeff Davis, spokesman for Pacific Submarine Force.

Cmdr. Kevin Mooney, commanding officer of the USS San Francisco, and Rear Adm. David Gove, commander of Submarine Group 7, paid tribute to Ashley during the ceremony.

“[Ashley] dedicated himself to San Francisco, our Navy and our great country. By so doing, he earned the love, honor, trust and respect of his shipmates,” said Mooney. “Although our hearts ache and we miss him, we thank God for the time together. We also thank Petty Officer Ashley’s family for sharing their son and brother with us.

“He touched each one of us and made a lasting impression in our lives,” Mooney added. “As we say goodbye to our shipmate, we take comfort in the knowledge that he lived every day to the fullest and left a legacy of dedicated service any man could be proud of.”

Gove also spoke of Ashley’s commitment to the Navy and to the country.

“Petty Officer Joseph Ashley knew, as the rest of the San Francisco crew knows today, that what they do is important,” Gove said. “Hard work and training really matters. That’s why Joseph was out there with his shipmates, getting it done, making a difference and ensuring all our safety and freedom are secured.”

No members of Ashley’s family were present at the ceremony, but photos and a video recording of the memorial will be sent to them along with Ashley’s personal effects, Davis said.

The San Francisco, a Los Angeles-class, fast-attack submarine, apparently struck an uncharted underwater mound about 350 nautical miles south of Guam. Twenty-three sailors were reported injured in the incident. In a videotape of the memorial ceremony shot by the Navy and shown on local Guam television, sailors in attendance could be seen using crutches and wearing a neck brace.

Ashley, 24, from Akron, Ohio, enlisted in the Navy in 2001 and reported to the USS San Francisco as a machinist’s mate in February 2002. He was a recipient of the National Defense Service Medal and was selected as Junior Sailor of the Quarter for the third quarter of 2004.

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