By Sydney Johnson
Founded in 1795, the Navy Supply Corps has spent more than two centuries delivering sustainable operation capabilities to their fellow sailors in the fleet.
Here are six facts about who they are and what they do:
It’s The Most Operational of All Navy Staff Corps.
Since Navy Supply Corps officers serve on almost every naval platform in nearly every expeditionary mission and at hundreds of military installations all around the world, they are the most operational corps of the Navy. Plus, one-third of its more than 3,300 active and Reserve component officers serve in operational assignments.
Its Motto is Simple and Accurate.
The official motto of the Navy Supply Corps is “Ready for Sea.” The corps’ officers make sure everything on the ships run smoothly, down to details in the ship’s (or submarine’s) kitchen and food supply. This motto is reflective of that duty and is a recognized naval phrase.
It Has Operated in Every Military Engagement Since 1798.
The first major engagement the Navy Supply Corps operated in was the Quasi-War - a two-year undeclared naval war between the United States and France that took place just after The American Revolutionary War. They have served in every military engagement since.
Its Insignia is a Gold Oak Leaf.
Although the oak leaf symbolic relevance has been lost in history, those in the Navy Supply Corps wear it proudly. One rumored story is that the oak tree was once a main resource for the fleet. Another possibility is that the oak is a symbol of strength and endurance.
Members Have an Unusual Nickname.
Within the wardroom (the commissioned officers’ dining area aboard a warship), Navy Supply Corps officers are colloquially called “pork chops.” Not lamb chops or veal chops. Pork chops. Apparently, this nickname references the shape of the oak leaf insignia found on officers’ sleeves and collars, as it vaguely looks like a pork chop. They are also referred to as “SuppO” (short for “Supply Officer”), but that is typically used for senior officers.
Some Recognizable People Have Been in the Corps.
Many well-known people have served in Navy Supply Corps. Some of these people on this list include A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble; Melvin R. Laird, former Secretary of Defense; Bill Marriot, Executive Chairman of Marriott International; Regis Philbin, television personality; and Roger Staubach, former NFL quarterback.
-This story was originally published on USO.org in 2021. It has been updated in 2022.
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