Surrounded by family and friends, Navy Rear Adm. Patricia “Patty” Wolfe bid farewell to the Navy on Sept. 20 after 32 years of service.
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Rear Adm. Patricia Wolfe, Director of the DLA Joint Reserve Force, and her husband, Rob, get a traditional Navy send-off during her retirement ceremony Sept. 20 at the McNamara Headquarters Complex. (Photo by Teodora Mocanu)
Prior to her retirement, Rear Adm. Wolfe had served as Director, Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) Joint Reserve Force since October 2011 at Fort Belvoir, Va. The Joint Reserve Force oversees the administration of the military reserve program at DLA.
“Retirements are called bittersweet, but for me this is sweet with no bitter,” Rear Adm. Wolfe said. “I’ve loved every minute of my Navy career, and although I will miss the daily interaction with the people here at DLA, the Navy, and the Navy Reserve, I don’t intend to be a stranger.”
Her Navy career began in 1981 when she received her commission from the Villanova University Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps. After several assignments as a Supply Corps officer, she left active duty in 1987 and joined the Navy Reserve. Rear Adm. Wolfe said she became a Supply Corps officer out of a desire to take care of Sailors.
DLA Director Navy Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek recalled the many times his and Rear Adm. Wolfe’s career paths crossed, including tours in Kuwait and Afghanistan, and her time at DLA, where she worked closely on disaster relief efforts following Hurricane Sandy in 2012. She also deployed in January 2010 in support of Operation Unified Response for Haiti earthquake relief efforts.
“If you need an operator and a leader who thinks big and can accomplish the mission, no matter what that mission is, that’s Patty,” Vice Adm. Harnitchek said. “I’ll tell you, if there’s trouble over the past 12 years anywhere in the world, you can pretty much count on seeing Patty and her reserve crew right there on the front lines of logistics making big things happen in a big way.”
Wolfe noted the importance of the Navy Reserve, which she joined as a way to balance her career and family life. “This community of citizen Sailors represents all that makes our country so great,” Rear Adm. Wolfe emphasized. “I’ve had the opportunity as a senior Navy Reserve officer to interface with so many of these great Americans, and after 25 years, I continue to be amazed at the dedicated, skilled and committed Sailors that we have in the Navy Reserve.”
During the ceremony, she recognized her family, which has a long history of military service. Her grandfather and father both served in the Navy, along with her husband, Rob, who retired as a Navy commander in 1999, and her son, Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott Sakowski, who serves aboard USS Boxer
(LHD 4). He was unable to attend, but sent a statement recognizing her service and dedication to her family.
“As I sit here reflecting on how I got to where I am, sitting on a couple hundred thousand tons of floating sovereign American soil, I can’t help but feel that I am here to follow in the footsteps of the most important, influential and inspirational person in my life: my mom,” he wrote. “At a very young age, I learned the values of sacrifice and selflessness from the best teacher I could ask for. It’s not that she wasn’t there for me, it’s that she was there for our country as well.”
Navy Vice Adm. Robin Braun, Chief of the Navy Reserve and Commander, Navy Reserve Force, praised Rear Adm. Wolfe at the ceremony for the path she forged for women in the Navy, serving as the first female commander of a Navy cargo handling battalion and one of the first female Supply Corps officers to be promoted to flag officer. She was promoted to Rear Admiral in 2007.
“During Patty’s incredible career, she’s influenced a generation of young Supply Corps officers and Sailors across the Navy,” Vice Adm. Braun said. “She’s been a mentor and a role model to so many, and she’s been an outstanding Navy Reserve representative, and an advocate to veterans across the nation and communities across the nation.”
Rear Adm. Wolfe’s personal decorations include the Legion of Merit with Gold Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with Gold Star, Joint Service Achievement Medal and the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal.
By Sara Moore, Defense Logistics Agency