Sea Mountains Named for National Geographic Staffers Killed on 9/11

David Braun
National Geographic News
May 17, 2002

Two undersea mountains about 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) northwest of Honolulu have been named for Ann Judge and Joe Ferguson, the National Geographic Society staff members who perished on the aircraft that was hijacked and flown into the Pentagon by terrorists on September 11, 2001.

Scott Gudes, deputy undersecretary of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), presented a map of the Pacific showing the location of the seamounts named for Ferguson and Judge to National Geographic Society President John Fahey, and the Society's Executive Vice President, Terry Garcia, Mission Programs, on May 14.

"This is a wonderful idea, and it's incredibly thoughtful of you," said Fahey. "This means a lot to us."

"It means a lot to us," said Gudes. "Ann and Joe were accompanying school students to a National Marine Sanctuary when they died. They were leaders in geography education, so it seemed appropriate that we name geographic features after them. For NOAA this is especially important as the features are in the oceans.

"We felt pretty emotional about what happened to Joe and Ann, as NOAA and the National Geographic Society are great partners, and they died while working for that partnership," Gudes said.

NOAA will give additional copies of the map to the Judge and Ferguson families.

The 6,000-foot (1,800-meter) Ferguson Seamount is located at 30° 15' N 171° 28' E. Its peak lies 12,007 feet (3,660 meters) below sea level.

Judge Seamount, 8,451 feet high (2,577 meters), is at 30° 35' N 171° 26' E. Its peak is 9,593 feet (2,924 meters) beneath the surface of the ocean.

Both seamounts are assumed to be volcanic.

The Advisory Committee on Undersea Features of the U.S. Board on Geographic Names agreed to the names.

Judge was director of the Society's travel office and Ferguson was director of the Geography Education Outreach Program.

They were accompanying three Washington, D.C., teachers and three students they were traveling with, when they were killed.

Teacher James Debeuneure and student Rodney Dickens were representing Ketcham Elementary School; teacher Sarah Clark and student Asia Cottom were from Backus Middle School; and teacher Hilda Taylor and student Bernard Brown were from Leckie Elementary School. All the students were 11-year-old sixth graders.

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