Washington, March 2, 1999
Rear Admiral William L. Stubblefield retired today as director
of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned
Corps and Office of NOAA Corps
Operations, after a distinguished career in uniformed service
that spanned 35 years, with 29 years at NOAA.
here to see photos of RAdm. Stubblefield's retirement
The Office of NOAA Corps Operations, composed of civilians and
commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, the nation's seventh
uniformed service, operates and manages NOAA's fleet of environmental
research and survey ships and aircraft. These ships support the
management of the nation's ocean fisheries; provide nautical
charts for at-sea navigation to commercial, recreational, and
military ships; and conduct coastal and deep water oceanography,
including climate and global change studies. The aircraft are
the nation's premier means of conducting research inside hurricanes;
providing the amount of snow pack necessary for predicting spring
flooding in the Midwest; and conducting coastline mapping and
Director since 1995, Stubblefield
shepherded the NOAA Corps through its most troubled times, when
it faced a four-year recruitment freeze and was targeted for
disestablishment. Under his leadership, the Office of NOAA Corps
Operations was streamlined to become more cost efficient while
increasing the level of program support. The NOAA Commissioned
Corps was recently authorized to continue its service to the
nation at least through the year 2003, due in large part to Stubblefield's
Stubblefield was commissioned
into the NOAA Corps in 1971 as a lieutenant, following a six-year
stint in the Navy and graduate school at the University of Iowa,
where he received a master's degree in geology. His first assignments
were as a junior officer aboard the NOAA ships Pathfinder and
Rainier, where he helped conduct hydrographic surveys off the
West Coast and Alaska. He then served ashore with the Environmental
Research Laboratory in Miami as deputy director of the Marine
Geology and Geophysics Division. For this work, he received a
NOAA Corps Special Achievement Award.
Stubblefield's assignments thereafter,
both at sea and ashore, reflected his interest in oceanographic
research. He returned to graduate school, and in 1979 received
his Ph.D. in geological oceanography from Texas A&M University.
His career included assignments as chief scientist for the NOAA
Undersea Research Program, technical specialist for Sea Grant,
and commanding officer of Surveyor, which conducted oceanographic
research from the Arctic to the Antarctic. He was coordinator
of NOAA's fleet modernization study, and received the Department
of Commerce's second highest award, a Silver Medal, for his work.
He became executive director for the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric
Research in 1990. He was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral
Lower Half in 1992 and assigned as deputy director of the Office
of NOAA Corps Operations.
In 1995 Stubblefield was promoted
to Rear Admiral Upper Half and selected for the NOAA Corps' highest
position. For his achievements in this position he recently received
the prestigious Eagle Award from the Reserve Officers Association,
which represents all seven of the uniformed services.
Stubblefield is a native of Medina,
Tenn., the son of the late George and Jessie (Mutt) Parrish.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis.
He currently resides with his wife, Dr. Bonnie McGregor Stubblefield,
in Potomac, Md. His wife is the associate director of the U.S.
Geological Survey and is the daughter of Douglas and Myrtle McGregor
of Fitchburg, Mass. He plans to retire to Shepherdstown, W.Va.,
where he and his wife have a home.