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Lore of the Corps: (from the book "ready for sea, the bicentennial history of the U.S. Navy Supply Corps" by retired Rear Adm. Frank J. Allston, SC, USNR).

This issue's Lore of the Corps focuses on retired Rear Adm. Rodney Kaye Squibb, who completed 44.5 years of active service and retired in February 1990 after serving as Commander, Navy Resale and Services Support Office.

RADM Squibb is believed to be the first Supply Corps officer to serve in every Navy rate and rank from seaman to rear admiral. He enlisted in the Navy at the minimum age of 17.5, and left naval service at the RADM Squibb is believed to be the first Supply Corps officer to serve in every Navy rate and rank from seaman to rear admiral. He enlisted in the Navy at the minimum age of 17.5, and left naval service at the

Rodney Squibb was born on a farm near Morton, Minn., in January 1928. He was intent on joining the Navy upon graduation from high school, but had to wait until October 1945 when he reached the minimum age. During World War II, his older brother served in the Navy, one sister was a WAC in the Army, and another sister was a SPAR in the Coast Guard.

Rod Squibb went through boot camp at NTC San Diego and through Storekeeper A School at NTC Great Lakes before reporting in August 1946 for duty at the Navy Finance Center in Cleveland, where he was advanced to Storekeeper Third Class. He next reported to USS Robert L. Wilson (DD 847) in February 1948, where he served until honorably discharged from the Navy in January 1949; he reenlisted in the Navy Reserve the following day.

He worked as a venetian blind assembler, but was unhappy with civilian life and returned to active duty Navy in Mary 1949 as a volunteer Reservist because his USN rating was full. Petty Officer Squibb reported to the USS PC 778, a Reserve training ship based at Cleveland, where he served for a year and a half. In August 1950, he took the ship through Lake Michigan and down the Illinois and Mississippi rivers to Philadelphia, arriving in November. PC 778 was decommissioned in April 1951, and Squibb was assigned to the crew to ferry a newly commissioned vessel, PCE 902, back to the Great Lakes through the St. Laurence Seaway to her new home port of Milwaukee, Wis.

He then was reassigned to the crew of PCE 894, a Reserve training ship at Chicago, where he served from June 1951 to September 1953, making Storekeeper First Class early in the tour. The Korean War opened up a number of USN rates, including Storekeeper, so SK1 Squibb reenlisted in the Navy in July 1953. He was ordered to USS Fechteler (DDR 870), a newly recommissioned World War II destroyer, at Long Beach, Calif., in October 1953. He deployed to Korea in Fechteler, which made an around-the-world cruise to change its homeport to Newport, R.I.

In June 1955, he was promoted to Chief Petty Officer and reported to USS Cascade (AD 16). He served in Cascade for about 13 months, during which she made two Mediterranean cruises. SKC Squibb was transferred temporarily to USS Ticonderoga (CV 14) for transportation back to the States and duty as an instructor in the NROTC program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, starting in August 1956.

Chief Squibb had learned of the Navy's need for officers, and was a successful applicant for the Seaman to Admiral Program. He was commissioned an Ensign in the Supply Corps in July 1957 and ordered to the Officer Candidate School, Newport, R.I., in a group of commissioned senior ex-enlisted men. Ens. Squibb attended Navy Supply Corps School Athens, Ga., from November 1957 to February 1958, and then reported to the Navy Ship's Store Office, Brooklyn, for two months of training.

In July 1958, Ens. Squibb was given independent duty as officer-in-charge, Ship's Store Ashore, at the Naval Air Station, Oppama, Japan. He was promoted to lieutenant, junior grade, in December 1958. Lt. j.g. Squibb reported to duty as Navy Exchange officer, NAS Minneapolis, Minn., in June 1960 and was promoted to Lieutenant in June 1961. He returned to sea in September 1963 as stores officer and senior assistant supply officer aboard USS Yellowstone (AD 27) at Mayport, Fla. Lt. Squibb was ordered to Norfolk in September 1965 as staff supply officer, Service Squadron (SEVRON) Eight, which had 37 sea-going tugs, intelligence ships, rescue ships, and other service vessels. He was promoted to lieutenant commander at SERVRON Eight.

Although Squibb was not a college graduate, he had been attending classes whenever Navy duties permitted, but sea duty prevented completion requirements for a degree. Lt. Cmdr. Squibb reported to the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif., in November 1967 in a degree program for former naval aviation cadet pilots and former enlisted men. He graduated with a bachelor's degree in international relations in October 1969.

Lt. Cmdr. Squibb's only previous aviation experience was in Navy Exchange duty at two air stations, but he was ordered to USS Kitty Hawk (CVA 63), as assistant to Cmdr. (later Rear Adm.) Andy Giordano, supply officer. The new duty gave Lt. Cmdr. Squibb a good grounding in aviation supply during Kitty Hawk's deployment to Vietnam. He was selected for commander in early 1971, ordered to NAVSUP in August, and became the Supply Management Branch Head. Rear Adm. Wally Dowd, Commander of NAVSUP, recognized Cmdr. Squibb's aviation background, appointed him assistant inspector general in February 1974, and sent him to inspect air stations around the world. While in the IG shop, he was sent to the University of Pittsburgh for a management executive program in 1974.

Cmdr. Squibb was ordered, in September 1975, as prospective Supply officer, USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69), under construction at Newport News, Va. He was the first member of the Supply Department to report to the shipyard. Two years later, at commissioning in October 1977, he had 822 men in his department. His tour aboard Eisenhower lasted three years, during which his department supported 6,200 men when the air wing was aboard. At sea, he received orders to the Aviation Supply Office in Philadelphia.

He was promoted to Captain in September 1978, reported to ASO under Rear Adm. Paul Foster, and assigned initially as Stock Control Officer. He later served as planning and data systems officer, and still later as executive officer. He says that he had never been challenged as much as he was by the mathematical and inventory models and the huge Navy parts inventory managed by the aviation inventory control point. He was awarded the first of his four Legions of Merit at the end of his first ASO tour for enhancing the effectiveness of ASO during a period of accelerating technical complexity.

Capt. Squibb's next duty took him back to Norfolk as Force Supply Officer, Naval Air Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet (AIRLANT), responsible for supporting the aircraft carriers and air stations in the AIRLANT claimancy. It was a big job, but he had the right credentials. He traveled extensively with the admirals who headed AIRLANT, including 10 or 12 trips to the Mediterranean. His job was to make certain that the carriers and air stations had the resources to support high readiness levels. Capt. Squibb received a gold star in lieu of a second Legion of Merit.

He was selected for Flag rank in early 1984 and ordered back to ASO in June to relieve Rear Adm. John Ruehlin as Commanding Officer. He was frocked as a commodore upon assuming command at a time when the Navy was funding aviation depot level repairables. Shortly after Commodore Squibb arrived back in Philadelphia, ASO had its largest budget ever, $5 billion, to buy spares for the aviation community. Commodore Squibb and his staff worked overtime to assure they were buying the proper items at the proper prices and that the inventory was located at the proper stock points.

ASO led the shift to a posture of more competitive buying of spares and fewer buys from prime contractors. Squibb recalls that they moved from buying six percent competitively to 40 percent during his watch. "It was a challenging job, but the rewards were great because we were filling the bins and slowly and surely the material readiness started to increase," he said. His contributions during his command tour were recognized twice. The first was a gold star in lieu of a third Legion of Merit for the period, June to December 1984, which recognized his increasing competitive procurements from 14.6 percent to 25 percent of total buys.

He made his number as Commodore in July 1985 and was redesignated Rear Admiral, lower half, in 1986. When he left ASO in August 1986, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, which cited his leadership in "fundamental improvement in competition resulting in savings of over $250 million."

Rear Adm. Squibb reported to NAVSUP in August 1986 as Deputy Commander, Fleet Support. He was promoted to Rear Admiral, upper half, in May 1987, and in July, relieved Rear Adm. Donald E. Wilson as Commander, Navy Resale and Services Support Office, Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island, N.Y. At the time, Navy resale system annual sales were $148 million from exchanges, commissaries, ship's stores and lodges. Rear Adm. Squibb says that everything went well for a year and a half until the Department of Defense decided to consolidate all Navy, Marine Corps, Army and Air Force commissaries. The Defense Commissary Agency was formed in 1989 to operate them.

He believes strongly that it is not enough to rely on attractive prices and the loyalty of Sailors and dependents to maintain high usage rates for the Navy's retail operations. He says the exchanges must be more user-friendly in the manner of attractive malls build around such mass merchandisers as Kmart and Wal-Mart, if they are to remain economically viable.

Rear Adm. Squibb was recognized both inside and outside the Navy for his stewardship of the ship's store, Navy exchange, and Navy commissary operations around the world when NRSSO sales and profits grew 25 percent and 54 percent, respectively. He was "cover boy" for Military Market magazine just three months before he retired. In a wide-ranging interview, "Cheering the NAVRESSO Magic," the publication devoted five pages to words and photographs of Rear Adm. Squibb. Summing up his management philosophy, he said, "People like to see the boss, touch the boss. So, I made that one of my primary goals ... to get out there ... Another thing I found out when you're in senior management is that, if you hang around the office too much, you become the biggest micro manager in the world, and you don't let the potential of your managers be fully executed."

Rear Adm. Squibb reached the mandatory retirement age of 62 in January 1990, and retired on February 1. He had worked for 16 Supply Corps Flag officers and 11 line Flag officers during his 44.5-year Navy career. At his retirement, he was awarded a gold star in lieu of a fourth Legion of Merit.

Representative Marvin Leath (D-Texas) read a tribute to Rear Adm. Squibb into the Congressional Record just nine days before his retirement at Fort Wadsworth.
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Publication:Navy Supply Corps Newsletter
Date:Jan 1, 2013
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