West Platte grad promoted to commanding officer of nuclear submarine

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WESTON, Mo. -- Family and friends in Weston, Missouri are celebrating a major accomplishment by one of its long time residents. Commander Jeff Juergens was recently promoted to commanding officer of the USS San Francisco, a nuclear powered attack submarine.

"It's just extraordinary who he's become and that's because of the Navy and the people he's been surrounded by." gushed Judy Juergens, Jeff's mother.

Judy Juergens is being a little modest, the Navy and her son, would likely say his parents had a lot to do with his career track.

Commander Juergens grew up in Weston. He was there from preschool until he graduated West Platte High School. His mother says the family moved there for two very good reasons. The schools and the small town atmosphere.

"I was called by school nurse one time and as I was walking down the hall, I had three different teachers tell me my son hadn't eaten his lunch, that was the kind of environment we wanted to raise children in," recalled Juergens.

Jeff was a mixture of brain and brawn at West Platte. When he graduated he went to the University of Illinois for the engineering program and NROTC, the Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps.

The naval influence came from his father.

"Jeff wanted to be a Navy pilot and fly jets as his father did," explained Judy Juergens.

The plan changed after Jeff spent a little time on a submarine. It was then he decide he'd rather "dive" than "fly". A couple of weeks ago, his decision and a lot of hard work paid off. There was a special change of command ceremony in late January.

Judy said she's been able to see her son quite a bit in recent years, but says that will change during this assignment. He'll be very busy, but if he does happen to make it home, there's one place he can't wait to visit.

"He loves to go to O'Malley's on a Friday or Saturday night and drink O'Malleys beer and listen to music."

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