Aaron H. Reaves – Midshipman First Class, United States Naval Academy

Academy senior killed in car crash

By Josh Mitchell
Courtesy of The Baltimore Sun
July 30, 2008

A 21-year-old Naval Academy senior from Georgia was killed early Monday when his car crashed in a wooded area in Virginia, authorities said yesterday.

Midshipman 1st Class Aaron H. Reaves was heading north on U.S. 301 shortly after 3:30 p.m. when he lost control of his 2008 Chevrolet Cobalt and crashed into a tree near Fort A.P. Hill, an Army installation southeast of Fredericksburg, a Virginia State Police spokesman said. Midshipman Reaves, of Kennesaw, Georgia, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fatigue might have contributed to the crash, said the spokesman, Sergeant Thomas Cunningham. There was no sign of alcohol use or excessive speed, and Midshipman Reaves was wearing a seat belt, Sergeant Cunningham said. Police are investigating.


Joel Reaves said his son was driving to Annapolis after spending the weekend with family in South Carolina and Georgia. He left his parents’ Atlanta-area home Sunday evening and had been on the road for about 10 hours when the crash occurred, Mr. Reaves said.

Midshipman Aaron H. Reaves was from Georgia.

He said he talked to his son about 30 minutes before the crash and that he sounded fine. “He said, ‘Dad, I’m down to my last cell. Dad, I need to concentrate on driving,'” Mr. Reaves said.

Mr. Reaves described his son as a dedicated runner who worked hard to meet the academy’s rigorous academic standards. He called Midshipman Reaves a “dream kid to raise.”

Midshipman Reaves, an English major who planned to become a surface warfare officer in the Navy, was born on a military installation in Virginia’s Hampton Roads area and moved with his family to various cities.

He attended high school in the Atlanta area, where he joined the ROTC and decided to follow the military path of his father, a 1981 Naval Academy graduate.

Senior Chief Jeffrey Carlsen, Midshipman Reaves’ senior enlisted officer at the academy, said Midshipman Reaves took his duty to country seriously and helped classmates who struggled physically.

“He was one of the best mentors in the company,” Chief Carlsen said. “He had military bearing beyond reproach. His demeanor with his classmates and his underclass was always professional.”

A memorial service will be held Tuesday in Georgia. Mr. Reaves said the family has requested that Midshipman Reaves be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Aaron Hampton Reaves, 21, a resident of Kennesaw, Georgia, for eight years and a midshipman at the Naval Academy, died of injuries sustained in a car accident July 28, 2008, in Caroline County, Virginia.

Midshipman Reaves was born August 21, 1986, in Portsmouth, Virginia, to retired Navy Commander Joel C. and Madelyn Reaves of Kennesaw.

He graduated from North Cobb High School in Kennesaw in 2004 and entered the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Newport, Rhode Island. He was a member of the Class of 2009 at the Naval Academy, where he was an English major.

He ran varsity track and cross country in high school and earned several awards, such as Most Valuable Player and Best Distance. He also participated in the NJROTC program, where he was the Cadet Company Commander.

He was a member of the House of God Church in Avondale Estates, Georgia.

He enjoyed distance running and video games.

Survivors include two brothers, Joel Reaves II of Tucker, Georgia, and Jon M. Ware of Lakeland, Florida; two sisters, Catherine Reaves of Marietta, Georgia, and Chandra Brown of Baltimore; his grandfather, Durrie Reaves of Plant City, Florida; and his great-grandmother, Rose E. Anderson of Fort Washington, Maryland.

Funeral services will be held at noon Monday in the Naval Academy Chapel. Interment will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Arlington National Cemetery. Those attending the burial should meet at the administration building at 9:30 a.m.

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