Rear Admiral Samuel P. De Bow, Jr., NOAA was the Director, NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps and Director, Office of Marine and Aviation Operations from 2004 until his retirement September 30, 2007. He was nominated for this position by President George W. Bush, confirmed by the Senate, and subsequently promoted from Captain to Rear Admiral.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Commissioned Corps (NOAA Corps) is a small, elite corps of officers--all with college degrees in science, engineering, or mathematics—who command NOAA ships and aircraft as well as serve within the many environ-mental research programs of NOAA. The NOAA Corps is one of the United States’s seven uniformed services.
NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations (OMAO) is composed both of NOAA Corps officers and civilians who operate, manage, and maintain the agency’s fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft.
RADM De Bow was appointed into the NOAA Corps in 1976. His career has focused on NOAA's mission to ensure safe navigation. He has served aboard three NOAA hydrographic survey ships that acquire data to update the nation’s nautical charts, and two mobile hydrographic field units. Hydrographic surveys accurately determine least water depths and locate obstructions and other dangers to navigation on the sea floor. His last sea tour was as commanding officer of the NOAA Ship RUDE; under his direction, RUDE located the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 after the jet’s disastrous crash in 1996. During his career, RADM De Bow has conducted hydrographic surveys throughout the coastal waters of the United States, including Alaska. While in graduate school, he was an NOAA exchange hydrographer, working with the Norwegian Hydrographic Service in Stavanger, Norway.
RADM De Bow’s shore tours have included a variety of staff, management and technical positions, the majority of which were in support of NOAA’s mapping and charting mission. Most recently (7/03-6/04), he served as executive assistant to the deputy under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, who manages NOAA’s workforce of approximately 13,000 and budget of $3.9 billion. Prior to that, RADM De Bow was chief of the Hydrographic Services Division (3/99-7/03), where his primary responsibility was to provide overall guidance and leadership for NOAA’s national hydrographic survey program. Here he was instrumental in revitalizing NOAA’s aging hydrographic fleet while managing close to $100 million in private sector contracts for data. He also served as NOAA’s on-scene operations officer during the search for John F. Kennedy Jr.’s downed aircraft in 1999 (found by NOAA Ship RUDE), and coordinated NOAA’s search efforts for Egypt Air 990 in 1999 (found by NOAA Ship WHITING).
In September 2006, RADM De Bow was confirmed as a member of the Mississippi River Commission. During his career, he has been a member of a group awarded the Department of Commerce Gold Medal (the Department's highest award), and has received two individual Department of Commerce Silver Medals and an NOAA Bronze Medal (NOAA's highest award) for his achievements. He has also received a U.S. Coast Guard and three NOAA Corps commendation medals in addition to numerous other medals and ribbons.
RADM De Bow holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and engineering from Drexel University and a master’s degree in hydrographic sciences from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a senior executive fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and attended the Leadership for a Democratic Society course at the Federal Executive Institute. RADM De Bow is a native of Philadelphia, PA. He and his wife, Susan, have a son and two daughters.