Donald was speaking about Thomas R. Nutter, who retired in
April after 45 years of service to the Navy and the nation.
“Like so many others who served their country both as
part of and in support of the submarine service,” the
admiral continued, “the public will never appreciate
the debt of gratitude this nation owes you.”
a native of Henderson, West Virginia, began his long and varied
career when he joined the Navy in May 1959. He attended the
Electronics “Class-A” and submarine training schools
until his first assignment onboard USS Carp (SS-338).
His other submarine assignments included tours on USS Argonaut
(SS-475), USS Torsk (SS-423), USS Spadefish (SSN-668),
and USS Cincinnati (SSN-693). He retired from active
duty as a Master Chief Petty Officer in June 1979, having
served on both diesel-electric and nuclear-powered submarines.
1980, he entered civilian federal service, accepting a position
with the Naval Ship Systems Engineering Station, Philadelphia,
Pennsylvania. After a year of specialized engineering and
technical training, he was assigned to Commander, Submarine
Squadron 8 as Technical Advisor for Submarine Masts, Antennas,
and Periscopes, where he served until July 1985. He then accepted
a position on the staff of the Commander, Submarine Force,
U. S. Atlantic Fleet, where he has served as Special Programs
Officer. “My biography lays out my career very succinctly,”
Nutter explained. “20-plus years active duty –
all submarines; 24 years of federal service – all submarines.
My wife often reminds me that I never left the Navy or the
Submarine Force – I just changed uniforms along the
way. My service has been both a privilege and a pleasure,
and I can’t think of a higher honor than being given
the opportunity to serve one’s country for over 45 years,”
is a graduate of Saint Leo College with a Bachelor of Arts
degree in Business Administration and Computer Information
Systems. He also holds a Masters of Business Administration
in Technology Management from the University of Phoenix.
received numerous personal citations and awards, including
the Navy Meritorious Civilian Award and Navy Superior Civilian
Award. During his retirement ceremony, Nutter was presented
the Distinguished Civilian Service Award by VADM Donald. The
award cited Nutter as “an extraordinary champion of
the taxpayer’s money,” noted that “his programs
are consistent models of fiscal management,” and lauded
his “superb insight, leadership, managerial talent,
technical expertise, and inexhaustible enthusiasm.”
all the formal awards and citations he has received, Nutter
will be most remembered for his long service furnishing special-purpose
gear and equipment – affectionately known as “Nutter
Clutter” – to submarines for specific missions.
Vice Admiral and former Submarine Force Commander John J.
Grossenbacher noted, “No matter what it took, no matter
the hours and despite the bureaucracy, Tom always found the
people, the money, and the material to provide his precious
‘Nutter Clutter’ to our submarines.
years of work had a profound influence on submarine intelligence-collection,
surveillance, and reconnaissance operations,” Grossenbacher
concluded. “They don’t come any better than Tom,
and he will be sorely missed.”
bring stealth, endurance, agility, and firepower to the battle
space, and the silent service of the United States enjoys
a noted dominance in the world today,” VADM Donald added.
“That accomplishment has been directly influenced by
your extraordinary performance.”
won’t take all the credit for his dedication and years
of service. Like any Sailor, past or present, he had a lot
of support from home. “I didn’t get here all by
myself, I had a lot of help along the way,” he explained.
“I want to acknowledge a very special person in my life,
my wife Marcella. She has been by my side all the way, and
I do mean all the way.” He continued, “She not
only supported my work ethic, she made it possible for me
to continue my education along the way. She is the perfect
In a final
tribute to Mr. Nutter’s stature, VADM Donald quoted
the words of Abraham Lincoln: “Character is like a tree
and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think
of; the tree is the real thing.”
JOC Piggott is
assigned to COMNAVSUBFOR Public Affairs.