Logistics center welcomes new leader, promotes outgoing commander to second star

By Kristin Molinaro DLA Land and Maritime Public Affairs

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Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer assumed command of the Defense Supply Center Columbus and Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime from Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic during ceremony June 27 at the Operations Center Auditorium.

Skubic will become the 48th Chief of the Navy’s Supply Corps and commander of Naval Supply Systems Command, headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, which manages the supply chains providing material for Navy aircraft, surface ships, submarines and associated weapons systems.

U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic garnered her second star in a promotion ceremony
U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic garnered her second star in a promotion ceremony June 27 shortly before relinquishing command of Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime at the Defense Supply Center Columbus in Columbus, Ohio. Skubic's children Chantal and Jake were on hand to replace their mother's shoulderboards wither her new two-star rank. Skubic will become the 48th Chief of the Navy's Supply Corps and the commander of Naval Supply Systems Command headquartered in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania. Rear Adm. John Palmer will succeed Skubic as commander of DLA Land and Maritime. (Photo by Mike Rowland/DSCC)
DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, who presided over the ceremony, began by promoting Skubic to the rank of rear admiral (upper half) following her successful 21-month tenure at DSCC’s helm. Skubic’s children, Chantal and Jake, were by her side to put the new rank on their mother’s uniform. Skubic expressed gratitude for her supportive family and the DLA workforce.

“None of us get to the top without dedicated mentors and teammates – all of you have strongly contributed to my opportunity to serve at the next level,” Skubic said. “I’m honored and humbled to stand here before you having been selected for promotion and the opportunity to continue serving this great nation. It’s particularly special to have this promotion ceremony here in front of you because every single person in this audience has contributed in some way to that being possible.”

Skubic is a native of Monterey, California, and graduated from California State University – Fullerton before launching her naval career. Skubic joins the less than 70 active duty officers across the Navy’s 324,000-strong force currently serving at the two-star rank.

“I’ll take with me the experience and knowledge of what DLA does and is capable of, and I’ll bring that back to the Navy with the hope to better support them and our joint Warfighters,” she said.

Williams spoke about Skubic’s career performance in rising through the Navy’s ranks and lauded her ability to step into the DLA Land and Maritime role, navigate several leadership transitions and achieve significant milestones during her tenure.

“Since taking command of Land and Maritime in 2016, Michelle has proven to be an exceptional leader who epitomizes strong support for our warfighters,” the DLA Director said, commending her efforts and impact on the organization.

Rear Adm. John Palmer took command of DLA Land and Maritime and DSCC
Rear Adm. John Palmer took command of Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime and the Defense Supply Center Columbus in a ceremony June 27 at the installation. In the military custom, Palmer accepted the organizational flag from DLA Director Army Lt. Gen. Darrell K. Williams, who presided over the ceremony. Palmer succeeds Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic, who will next serve as the Chief of the Navy's Supply Corps and commander of the Naval Supply Systems Command in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
The official change of command commenced immediately following the promotion ceremony, with Williams turning over the organization’s flag to its new leader, saying Palmer is the right person at the right time to lead DLA Land and Maritime.

“You bring a sterling reputation of leadership, unsurpassed mission support and taking care of people – all of the same characteristics used to describe and define DLA Land and Maritime and DSCC,” the DLA Director said.

Palmer, a Lexington, Kentucky, native and 1988 graduate of The Citadel, is a naval officer with previous operational and shore command experience. He joins DSCC from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, where he previously served as the director of logistics, fleet supply and ordnance for U.S. Pacific Fleet.

He takes over the 530-acre Whitehall facility which serves as a major logistics hub for the nation’s military services.

Palmer said he and wife, Brooks, look forward to calling Central Ohio home for the next few years, and being closer to Palmer’s Kentucky hometown and family farm.

Palmer's family attends change of command
The change of command ceremony for Navy Rear Adm. John Palmer was a family affair June 27, with wife Brooks, daughter Elizabeth Sanders and granddaughter Madison in attendance alongside additional family members who traveled to be at the event. The Defense Supply Center Columbus and Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime welcomed Palmer as the organization’s new leader as Rear Adm. Michelle Skubic departs to become the 48th Chief of the Navy’s Supply Corps and commander of Naval Supply Systems Command in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania.
“Having been so far away so many times – you learn to count your blessings,” Palmer stated, thanking his wife for helping execute their 17th set of orders together.

Palmer is no stranger to DLA – having served two previous DLA tours adding up to nearly six years with the agency. He served in multiple capacities at DLA Aviation for several years, and later in command of Defense Distribution Mapping Activity and Defense Distribution Depot Richmond in Virginia.

Other assignments include positions with Naval Supply Systems Command, Navy Personnel Command and Naval Air Systems Command, as well as assignments aboard the USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) and USS George Washington (CVN 73) among others.

“I pledge to you that we’ll continue the great work and uphold Land and Maritime standards that you’ve both established and maintained,” said Palmer, addressing Skubic and Williams.

“In that spirit, I would say that our goal every day can be nothing less than to have our warfighters ready to fight the next war. I look forward to measuring ourselves against these challenges together as a team,” he concluded.