John Dickson Stufflebeem

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John Dickson Stufflebeem
Born1952 (1952)
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1969-2008
RankVice Admiral
Retired as a Rear Admiral
Commands heldDirector, Navy Staff
6th Fleet
Carrier Group Two
Fighter Squadron Eighty-Four
Carrier Air Wing One
AwardsLegion of Merit (4)
Bronze Star
Air Medal (2)

John Dickson "Boomer" Stufflebeem (born 1952), is a retired United States Navy two-star rear admiral and Director, Navy Staff. Stufflebeem served 39 years in the Navy and is well known for his football career [1] and television briefings from the Pentagon following the attacks of 9/11 and subsequent military operations in Afghanistan.[2] He is the Senior Vice President and founder of the NJS Group, LLC,[3] a company specializing in strategic communications and planning as well as crisis management.[3]


Stufflebeem was born in Japan in 1952 while his father was stationed there in the Navy. Stufflebeem enlisted in the Navy Reserve in 1969 beginning his service as a deck seaman before being accepted into the United States Naval Academy in 1971. He graduated from the academy in 1975, having been nicknamed "Boomer" for his prowess as a punter on the Naval Academy football team. Although undrafted by any NFL team, his first assignment to the Detroit area allowed him to participate in three pre-seasons of professional football with the Detroit Lions [4] He was designated a Surface Warfare Officer in 1978 and Naval Aviator in 1980.

As a commissioned officer, Stufflebeem served operational tours in a surface combatant, various fighter squadrons and carrier air wing staffs in the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. He commanded Fighter Squadron Eighty-Four and Carrier Air Wing One during combat operations in the Balkans and Persian Gulf and Carrier Group Two/Task Force 60 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Stufflebeem has flown over 4,000 hours in a variety of fighter aircraft and has more than 1,000 aircraft carrier landings.

Additionally, Stufflebeem has served in staff assignments including Military Aide to President George H. W. Bush, Deputy Executive Assistant and later, Executive Assistant to the Chief of Naval Operations. His first assignment as a flag officer was Deputy Director for Global Operations (J-3) on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom.

Stufflebeem’s decorations include the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (four awards), Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and Air Medal (two strike/flight awards).

On 20 May 2005 at Naval Support Activity Naples, Stufflebeem was promoted to vice admiral and took command of the 6th Fleet, relieving then-Vice Admiral Harry Ulrich. He held this position until September 2007.[5]


In December 2007, Stufflebeem assumed the duties of Director, Navy Staff, relieving then-Vice Admiral Mark P. Fitzgerald. Early in 2008, the Department of Defense began an investigation into an allegation that Stufflebeem had an inappropriate relationship while serving as a presidential military aide in 1990. The Navy announced on March 24, 2008 that Stufflebeem was removed as director of the Navy Staff. His removal was directly due to the false and misleading testimony Stufflebeem gave to investigators and in conversations with his seniors on multiple occasions. Since Stufflebeem no longer held a three-star assignment, he was reverted to his permanent grade of rear admiral (upper half). The rank of vice admiral is temporary and is only given if an officer occupies a three-star position. Rear Admiral Stufflebeem was reassigned to serve on the staff of the CNO pending a review. On April 21, 2008, the US Navy announced that Stufflebeem had received a written reprimand as a result of non-judicial punishment following the investigation.[6] He subsequently retired from the Navy at his permanent two-star grade of rear admiral.


Stufflebeem was a standout punter for the Naval Academy during 1972-1974 and is still ranked as number three on the all-time list of Navy records.[7] He earned All East Coast Athletic Conference and Sports Illustrated honors in 1974 when he led the Navy team to a near upset of Notre Dame in Philadelphia.[8] Nicknamed "Boomer" as a punter because of his punting on the Naval Academy football team, he was signed to a professional football contract with the Detroit Lions [9] after graduation from 1975-1979, but unfortunately did not make the team's regular season rosters. In 2000 at its annual awards banquet, the NCAA honored Stufflebeem as one of its Silver Anniversary Award Recipients that recognizes up to six nationally distinguished former student-athletes on their 25th anniversary as college graduates.[10] In recent years Bill Belichick, head coach of the five time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots and former coach with the Detroit Lions in the 1970s, has commented on Stufflebeem’s leadership prowess.[11] In 2003 Belichick had Stufflebeem, a former player from his days with the Detroit Lions, deliver a message to the New England Patriots before a game. The theme was about sacrifice, commitment and a warrior's mentality and was set in the parallel context of playing professional football and pursuing the enemy in war.[12] The Patriots went on to win the Super Bowl that season and invited Stufflebeem to join the team at the White House after the championship.


Following the attacks on the U.S. of September 11, 2001, then Rear Admiral Stufflebeem became the face and voice from the Pentagon of U.S. military operations being conducted in Afghanistan to remove the Taliban from power and rid the country of al Qaeda. For months he provided briefings from The Pentagon to international television and radio media on the prosecution of what was known as Operation Enduring Freedom [13] as most reporters were not in Afghanistan during this time.


While commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization operational command in Lisbon, Portugal, then Vice Admiral Stufflebeem led the first deployment of NATO Response Force troops out of the European theater to Pakistan.[14] This was a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission in response to the earthquake that hit the Himalayan mountain range in the fall of 2005.[15] Additionally, he supported the African Union Mission in Sudan, the political-military mission to address the problems occurring in Darfur.[16]

Career & Lifetime [17][edit]

  • 1952-1969: Grew up in Navy family (father career officer), attended high school at Randolph-Macon Academy in Front Royal, VA
  • 1969-1971: Enlisted U.S. Navy Reserve
  • 1971-1975: Midshipman, U.S. Naval Academy and member of the 1972-1974 Navy football teams
  • 1975-1979: Signed with NFL Detroit Lions (concurrent with US Navy)
  • 1976-1978: Engineering officer on the U.S.S Elmer Montgomery FF-1082
  • 1978-1980: Naval Aviation training
  • 1980-1989: F-14 Tomcat fighter pilot in various squadrons
  • 1989-1990: Military Aide to President George H.W. Bush
  • 1991-1994: Commanding Officer of Fighter Squadron 84 with combat deployments to the Balkans and Persian Gulf
  • 1994-1995: Deputy Executive Assistant to Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Mike Boorda
  • 1995-1997: Deputy Commander and Commander of Carrier Air Wing 1 with combat deployments to the Persian Gulf
  • 1998-2000: Executive Assistant to Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Jay Johnson
  • 2000-2002: Deputy Director for Global Operations (J-3) on the Joint Staff during Operation Enduring Freedom
  • 2002-2003: Commander Carrier Group 2/Commander Task Force 60 leading combat operations from the Mediterranean Sea over northern Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • 2003-2005: Assistant Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Strategy (N3/5)
  • 2005-2007: Commander U.S. 6th Fleet/Deputy Commander U.S. Naval Forces Europe/Commander, Joint Command Lisbon (NATO)/Commander, Striking Forces NATO
  • 2007-2008: Director, Navy Staff
  • September 2008: Retired from the U.S. Navy; founded the NJS Group, a crisis communications and strategic planning consulting company

U.S. Military Awards & Decorations[edit]

Navy Distinguished Service ribbon Navy Distinguished Service Medal
US Defense Superior Service Medal ribbon Defense Superior Service Medal w/ one Oak Leaf Cluster
Legion of Merit ribbon Legion of Merit with three Gold Stars
Bronze Star ribbon Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service ribbon Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal ribbon Air Medal w/ Bronze Numeral "2"
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with one Gold Star
Navy and Marine Corps Achievement ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Navy Unit Commendation ribbon Navy Unit Commendation
Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon Meritorious Unit Commendation with two Bronze Stars
Navy "E" Ribbon Navy "E" Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal National Defense Service Medal with two Bronze Stars
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal
Southwest Asia Service Medal Southwest Asia Service Medal with one Bronze Star
Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
Global War on Terrorism Service Medal Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
Armed Forces Service Medal Armed Forces Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal Humanitarian Service Medal
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon Sea Service Deployment Ribbon with one Silver Star and one Bronze Star
Navy & Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon Navy and Marine Corps Overseas Service Ribbon w/ one Bronze Star
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg National Order of the Legion of Honour of France (Knight degree)
Grand Cross of the Medal of Military Merit ribbon.jpg Military Merit Medal of the Portuguese Republic (First Class)
NATO Meritorious Service Medal bar.svg NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Medal NATO Medal for ex-Yugoslavia
Inter-American Defense Board Medal Inter-American Defense Board Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon Navy Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon w/ Bronze "S"

Foreign Awards[edit]

Chevalier De La Légion D’Honneur (France)
Chevalier De La Légion D’Honneur (France)
Non Article 5 NATO Medal (Pakistan)
NATO Medal (former Yugoslavia)
Military Merit Medal, First Class (Portugal)
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
NATO Meritorious Service Medal
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)
Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait)

Devices & Badges[edit]

Naval Aviator Wings
Naval Aviator Wings
Surface Warfare Officer pin
Surface Warfare Officer pin
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge
Presidential Service Badge
Presidential Service Badge

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b
  4. ^ David Brown (2008-03-30). "Vice admiral fired over false testimony". Army Times Publishing Company. Retrieved 2008-05-10.
  5. ^ Jamie McIntyre (2008-05-09). "Admiral's affair included sex at White House". Retrieved 2008-05-10. He was commander of the 6th Fleet from May 2005 to September 2007.
  6. ^ Philadelphia Inquirer, April 22, 2008
  7. ^ US Naval Academy Sport Information Director, Scott Strasemeier
  8. ^ Sports Illustrated, Nov 11, 1974, Volume 41, No. 20; Street & Smith's College Football 50th Anniversary Issue, Collector's Issue, 1940-1990 All East Team
  9. ^ NFL League Office records
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-10-12. Retrieved 2009-09-15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2009-09-15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-06-09. Retrieved 2009-04-06.
  11. ^[permanent dead link][permanent dead link]
  12. ^ Providence Journal, 24 Aug 2003, Admiral Offers A Sober Message
  13. ^ press briefing summaries in media
  14. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2009-09-15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-04-03. Retrieved 2009-09-15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2009-09-15.
  15. ^
  16. ^[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ Official US Navy transcript