NOAA 2006-R827
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani
NOAA News Releases 2006
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President George W. Bush has appointed Rear Admiral Samuel P. De Bow Jr. as a commissioner on the Mississippi River Commission. De Bow is director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and the NOAA Commissioned Officer Corps.

The Mississippi River Commission, created by an act of Congress in 1879, was charged with creating a comprehensive plan to aid navigation and prevent destructive floods along the entire Mississippi River. Its membership was specified in the law to include three officers from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; three civilians, two of whom must be civil engineers; and a member from the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey (which became part of NOAA in 1970). Since the flood of 1927, the commission has focused primarily on overseeing the congressionally enacted Mississippi River and Tributaries Project, which was to deal with flood control and navigation on the lower Mississippi River. In recent years, the commission has resumed its mandated responsibility to consider issues along the entire Mississippi River.

Since his commissioning in 1976 into the NOAA Corps, the smallest of the nation’s seven uniformed services, De Bow’s career has focused on NOAA’s mission to ensure safe navigation. He has served aboard three NOAA hydrographic survey ships that acquire data to update the nation’s nautical charts, and two mobile hydrographic field units. His last sea tour was as commanding officer of the NOAA ship Rude. Under his direction, Rude located the wreckage of TWA Flight 800 after the jet’s disastrous crash in 1996. He was one of a group awarded the Commerce Department’s Gold Medal, the department’s highest honor, for these efforts.

De Bow’s shore tours have included a variety of staff, management, and technical positions, most supporting NOAA’s mapping and charting mission. He was chief of the Hydrographic Services Division, where his primary responsibility was to provide overall guidance and leadership for NOAA’s national hydrographic survey program. He also served as NOAA’s on-scene operations officer during the search for John F. Kennedy Jr.’s downed aircraft in 1999 (found by NOAA ship Rude), and coordinated NOAA’s search efforts for Egypt Air 990 in 1999 (found by NOAA ship Whiting). President Bush nominated De Bow to be director of the NOAA Corps and Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, and he was confirmed by the Senate in 2003. OMAO, composed of civilians and NOAA Corps officers, operates, manages and maintains NOAA’s fleet of research and survey ships and aircraft.

De Bow holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce and engineering from Drexel University and a master’s degree in hydrographic sciences from the Naval Postgraduate School. He was a senior executive fellow at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

De Bow is a native of Philadelphia, Pa., and a graduate of Northeast Catholic High School. He and his wife, Susan, have a son and two daughters, and currently reside in Olney, Md.

In 2007 NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, celebrates 200 years of science and service to the nation. Starting with the establishment of the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA. The agency is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 60 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts, and protects.

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NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations:

Mississippi River Commission:

NOTE TO EDITOR: A digital photo is available upon request from the contact above.