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In Memoriam: RADM Thomas James Hill, SC, USNR (Ret.)

March 30, 2022 | By Sam Cox (Rear Adm. USN, Ret.), Director, Naval History and Heritage Command

It is with deep regret I inform you of the passing of Rear Admiral Thomas James “Tom” Hill, Supply Corps, U.S. Naval Reserve (Retired), on 17 February 2022 at age 79. Rear Admiral Hill entered the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1964 and served as a Supply Corps officer until his retirement in 2002 as transportation director for Naval Supply Systems Command. He previously served on flag officer duty as mobilization assistant for U.S. Transportation Command. His reserve commands included Ships Parts Control Center Headquarters Unit 113, and Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Unit 1513. 

Tom Hill graduated from Notre Dame University in 1964 with a degree in business administration before being appointed an ensign in the U.S. Naval Reserve on 3 June 1964. He then attended the Navy Supply Corps School at Athens, Georgia, before reporting to the destroyer USS Jonas Ingram (DD-938), deploying to the Indian Ocean on a “people-to-people” cruise, making port calls at Djibouti, French Somaliland, Berbera, Somalia, Aden, Yemen, Karachi, Pakistan, and Beirut, Lebanon. Upon return to the Atlantic, Jonas Ingram participated in the recovery of the Gemini VI space mission. Ensign Hill was promoted to lieutenant (junior grade) in December 1965 before Jonas Ingram deployed to the Mediterranean. During this deployment, the ship made the first port call to Egypt in 15 years, at Port Said. Lieutenant (j.g.) Hill left active duty in November 1966.

He was promoted to lieutenant in the inactive reserve in December 1967, and affiliated with Naval Reserve units in 1969. I have no data on his assignments prior to promotion to captain, other than that he attended Harvard Business School, the Army War College, and served at some point in the Southwest Asia theater of operations. He was promoted to lieutenant commander in July 1972 and to commander in March 1979. 

Selected for captain, he assumed duty as officer-in-charge of Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Unit 1613. He was promoted to captain on 1 October 1985. In October 1986, he assumed command of Ships Parts Control Center Headquarters Unit 113. In October 1989, Captain Hill assumed command of Naval Supply Center, Norfolk, Unit 1513. In October 1991, he reported to Logistics Group TWO D313 as supply officer. In October 1993, he affiliated with Voluntary Training Unit 1325 in Southfield, Michigan. In August 1994, he reported to Naval Supply Systems Command as assistant to commander for mobility, in-theater logistics. 

Captain Hill was promoted to rear admiral (lower half) on 1 October 1995. In October 1997, Rear Admiral (lower half) Hill reported to U.S. Transportation Command as mobilization assistant. Hill was promoted to rear admiral (two-star) on 1 August 1997. In October 2000, Rear Admiral Hill reported to Naval Supply Systems Command as transportation director. He retired in 2002. 

Rear Admiral Hill’s awards include the Defense Superior Service Medal; Meritorious Service Medal; Joint Service Commendation Medal; Meritorious Unit Commendation; National Defense Service Medal (two awards); Overseas Service Ribbon (one bronze star); Navy Recruiting Ribbon; Armed Forces Reserve Medal (gold device); and Expert Pistol Ribbon. 

In his civilian career, Rear Admiral Hill worked for IBM Corporation for 25 years as a senior marketing representative. After taking an early retirement, he commenced another career with Morgan Stanley as a financial advisor. He then became vice president of Planned Investment, Inc., until he retired in 2020. 

Rear Admiral Hill was a life member of the Reserve Officers Association; Life Member of the Naval Reserve Association; National Director of the Naval Supply Corps Association; member of the Indianapolis Navy League, United Way Campaign, and Kiwanis; and he served as military advisory counsel for U.S. Representative Burton. He was very active as a public speaker at Veterans Day events and Navy Balls, as well as during a NATO exercise in Bergen, Norway, to senior NATO admirals and generals.

Rear Admiral Hill’s career typified that of the very best Naval Reserve officers, entailing significant sacrifice in time away from work and family in order to serve our nation. He excelled as a Supply Corps officer in the best-supplied Navy in the world, moving to positions of ever-increasing responsibility, and serving as an officer-in-charge and commanding officer of several reserve units as a captain. However, there are generally more Naval Reserve captains than captain billets, so he chose to serve in an unpaid status in a voluntary training unit. His persistence and dedication to duty paid off with his selection to flag rank after 10 years as an 0-6, whereupon he served in billets with significant responsibility at U.S. Transportation Command and Naval Supply Systems Command, ensuring superb logistics support to global joint and Navy forces. The job of a Supply Corps officer is never easy. Tom’s career spanned two cycles of relative “boom” (1960s, 1980s) and relative “bust” (1970s, 1990s) which only added to the difficulty. Nevertheless, he served our nation and Navy with distinction, and his service truly made a difference. He will be missed, but his legacy lives on.

Rest in Peace, Admiral Hill.