Supply Corps Vice Admirals – A History

Editorial Note: The following article originally appeared in the Navy Supply Corps Newsletter, September/October 2001 edition. It has been updated to include all subsequent Supply Corps three-star officers.

Every wonder how many Supply Corps officers have made it to three-star rank? Here’s a rundown.

    Vice Adm. Mark D. Harnitchek, SC, USN, became director of the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) in November of 2011. DLA is responsible for providing the military services and other federal agencies with logistics, acquisition and technical services. Previous to being named Director of DLA, Vice Adm. Harnitchek served as Deputy Commander, U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM).

    Vice Adm. William A. Brown, SC, USN, presently serves as Deputy Commander, USTRANSCOM. USTRANSCOM serves as the single manager for global air, land, and sea transportation for the Department of Defense. Prior to his assignment at USTRANSCOM, he served at Headquarters, United States European Command, where he was Director of Logistics (J4).

    Retired Vice Adm. Alan Thompson, SC, USN, was named Director, DLA, in November 2008. Vice Adm. Thompson served as Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and 44th Chief of Supply Corps previous to being named to head DLA.

    Retired Vice Adm. Justin D. McCarthy, SC, USN, was the first staff officer to hold the position of Director, Material Readiness and Logistics, (N4), OPNAV Staff. Vice Adm. McCarthy had previously served as Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command (NAVSUP) and 42nd Chief of Supply Corps.

    Retired Vice Adm. Keith Lippert, SC, USN, was promoted to vice admiral and became Director of DLA on July 20, 2001. Vice Adm. Lippert had been serving as the Commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command and 41st Chief of Supply Corps.

In 1992, retired Vice Adm. Edward M. Straw, who was serving as Vice Commander, NAVSUP, was selected to receive a third star. Vice Adm. Straw then became Director of DLA, and served there until his retirement in October 1996.

    Vice Adm. Eugene A. Grinstead served as Commander, NAVSUP, and 33rd Chief of Supply Corps from 1977 to 1981 and was then promoted to vice admiral. Vice Adm. Grinstead then became Director, DLA, in June 1981, serving until his retirement in July 1984.

    Vice Adm. Vincent A. Lascara was serving as Commanding Officer, Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Virginia, with additional duty as District Supply Officer, 5th Naval District, when he was selected for his third star. Vice Adm. Lascara became Vice Chief of Naval Material in June 1976 and served in that position until his retirement in July 1979.

    Vice Adm. George E. Moore II was Vice Chief of Naval Material from 1970 till his retirement in February 1973. Before becoming VCNM he was Deputy Chief of Naval Material (Logistic Support), Navy Department.

    Vice Adm. Kenneth R. Wheeler served as Commander, NAVSUP and 31st Chief of Supply Corps from 1970 to 1973 before being frocked with three stars. Vice Adm. Wheeler became Vice Chief of Naval Material in a ceremony held in February 1973 and served as VCNM until his retirement in September 1974. The USNS Wheeler, a Military Sealift Command off-shore petroleum distribution system, was named in honor of Vice Adm. Wheeler.

In July 1964, Joseph M. Lyle became Director of the Defense Supply Agency, Cameron Station, Alexandria, Va., with the rank of vice admiral. He served there until his retirement in 1967. He had previously served as DSA’s first Deputy Director from 1961 to 1964.

    Vice Adm. Robert F. Batchelder was serving as the Inspector General of the Supply Corps in 1957, when he retired following 39 years of service. He was transferred to the retired list with the rank of Vice Admiral. Today’s Vice Adm. Robert F. Batchelder awards, which honor those who have made significant contributions to the supply readiness of the U.S. Navy’s operating forces, are named for him.

In 1957, Stephen R. Edson was advanced in rank to vice admiral upon his transfer to the retired list for having been commended by the Secretary of the Navy “for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services to the Government of the United States …” during combat operations in World War II, reports the Supply Corps’ Monthly Newsletter of September of that year. His 40 years’ naval service included duty following 1945 as Assistant Chief and Vice Chief of Naval Material and as Commanding Officer of the Naval Supply Depot, Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.

Meritorious promotion to the rank of vice admiral came to Vice Adm. A. A. Antrim on his April 1, 1956, retirement with 46 years’ naval service, including duty as the Commanding Officer of the Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Virginia, and Supply Officer of the 5th Naval District. “Rear Adm. Antrim was presented with his promotion upon retirement by Rear Adm. I.N. Kiland, commandant of the district, in recognition of his significant World War II combat service in Navy supply,” according to an article in the Bureau of Supplies and Account’s Monthly Newsletter of April 1956.

The promotion of Vice Admiral M. L. Royar took place in 1954, when he became Chief of Naval Material, succeeding Vice Admiral Charles W. Fox in that post.

    Vice Adm. Charles W. Fox served as Chief of Naval Material from 1951 to 1953. As CNM, Vice Adm. Fox was the fourth officer in the history of the Supply Corps to attain the rank of vice admiral, reports the August 1953 Navy Supply Corps Newsletter.

    Vice Adm. E. D. Foster and C. W. Fox were the first and second Supply Corps officers respectively to hold the position of Chief of Naval Material.

In October 1949, E. Dorsey Foster was selected for the post of Chief of Naval Material in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy, with the accompanying rank of vice admiral. Vice Adm. Foster retired from the Navy in January 1951. He was known as the principal architect of the Navy’s modern-day supply system, according to his obituary in the Navy Supply Corps Newsletter of August 1979.

    Vice Adm. E.G. Morsell retired from the Navy in 1947. In 1946, he was assigned to duty as Senior Member of the Philippine Contract Settlement Commission in Washington, D.C.

In September 1942, William J. Carter III was commissioned rear admiral, for temporary service, while serving as Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. On March 7, 1945, Carter again was confirmed in the rank of rear admiral, to continue while serving as Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts, while assuming that duty on March 8, 1945. After cessation of hostilities he continued serving as Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. On Aug. 22, 1946, he was advanced to the rank of vice admiral. He was relieved as Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts on Oct. 1, 1946, and was placed on the Retired List of the Navy, in the rank of vice admiral, on that date.

By Barbara Pearce; NAVSUP Office of Corporate Communications