A Florida-based petty officer died late last month after he collapsed while jogging on base, officials confirmed this week.
Fire Controlman AEGIS 2nd Class Adam D. Pecaut, 28, was jogging on Naval Station Mayport at about 2:40 p.m. on April 27 when he collapsed, according to Navy officials and his wife, Isabella Pecaut.
He was rushed to Baptist Medical Center Beaches Hospital and pronounced dead there at 3:59 p.m., according to Lt. Cmdr. Richlyn Ivey, a spokeswoman for Naval Surface Forces Atlantic.
The cause is suspected to be a heart attack, said his wife.
“They tested him the day of his passing, and he was negative for COVID-19,” she said.
Pecaut had been stationed in Florida and assigned to the destroyer Thomas Hudner since June 2018, according to service records.
His death remains under investigation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Petty Officer 2nd Class Pecaut,” Ivey said in a statement.
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Pecaut was born and raised in Missouri and ran the same two-mile route every day on the base’s beach, Isabella Pecaut told Navy Times.
The two met in 2014 as Pecaut was wrapping up his final year at Southeast Missouri State University.
“Our eyes met and the rest is history,” Isabella Pecaut, 24, recalled.
Pecaut opted to enlist in the Navy in 2015 because, as he finished up college, “he knew he did not want to work behind an office desk,” his wife said.
“He was very hands on and thought joining the Navy could provide him with hands-on life skills,” she said. “He proposed the idea of it to me months prior and made sure I knew what kind of relationship we’d be getting ourselves into. I told him in the end, it would be worth it.”
They married just before Christmas in 2017 and spent the first six months of their marriage in the kind of long-distance arrangement familiar to many military families while she finished college.
In his off time, Pecaut enjoyed working out and working on the home they bought last fall.
“He was handy,” Isabella Pecaut recalled. “Man, he loved talking about his grass.”
Pecaut also loved shooting guns at local ranges with his buddies, playing golf and being with family, his wife said.
“He believed from a young age that hard work pays off and gets you far,” Isabella Pecaut said. “He was an honest, hard-working, caring man who loved Jesus and his family. We spent so much time together just planning for the future.”
They were already planning for what would come next because Pecaut had planned to leave the service, she said.
“Although he passed while serving on active duty, Adam was much more than a sailor,” she said. “He was a son, a brother to his sister, a brother to his fraternity brothers…he was a mentor to friends and coworkers, he was a son-in-law, he was a ‘fur daddy.’”
“He was my husband.”
The Covid-19 pandemic meant the family had to wait a week before Pecaut’s remains were released, Isabella Pecaut said.
The funeral involved masked mourners coming through in shifts, she recalled.
“We are back in (Missouri) and still cannot have a memorial service for our larger family and friends,” she said. “No large gatherings have been permitted, so we have to wait until July.”
Pecaut is also survived by his parents, Douglas and Donna Pecaut, and his younger sister, Christina Pecaut, his wife said.
About Geoff Ziezulewicz
Geoff is a senior staff reporter for Military Times, focusing on the Navy. He covered Iraq and Afghanistan extensively and was most recently a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. He welcomes any and all kinds of tips at firstname.lastname@example.org.