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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Civilian-Marine serves four decades

By Nathan L. Hanks Jr. | | August 21, 2012


When Richard “Rich” Zupko was a private first class, he took home $115.20 a month, which was about $1,382.40 a year. When he retired from the Marine Corps in 1989, he made $34,347.60 a year including basic housing allowance. In 1970, the height of the Vietnam War, the Marine Corps’s personnel strength was 310,000. A decade later, the Corps’ strength dropped 40 percent to 185,000.

These were some of the significant events Mike Williamson, director, Logistics Services Management Center, Marine Corps Logistics Command, highlighted during Zupko’s retirement ceremony, Aug 21.

Zupko, logistics management specialist, LSMC, Command, Control, Communications, Computers and Intelligence Systems Division, MCLC, retired in front of family members, Marines, Civilian-Marines and friends at the multi-purpose room in Building 3700.

He served the Marine Corps for more than 40 years, 20 years as an active-duty Marine and 22-plus years as a Civilian-Marine. He retired from active duty in 1989, making this his second retirement.

Williamson called Zupko’s performance, as a Marine and Civilian-Marine “remarkable service that his reputation procedes himself.”

During his speech, Williamson highlighted other noteworthy events that took place in the 1970s: IBM invented the floppy disk, Monday night football premiered, the Beetles broke up and George C. Scott starred in the movie “Patton.”

“I have enjoyed working here and will miss the camaraderie and friends I have made along the way,” Zupko said.

The logistics management specialist attributes his success to the professional connections he has established, insisting it was a team effort.

Zupko, who has been planning for his second retirement for a long time, began passing the torch to his co-workers two years ago.

“When I decided I was going to retire, I started to pass information I thought was important to my colleagues,” he said. “It is very important to make sure your replacement has as much knowledge as possible before you depart. The young people these days are very smart and catch on quickly and I believe they can keep the traditions for the Marine Corps alive, not only active-duty Marines but Civilian-Marines as well.”

Zupko’s active-duty career began when he joined the Marine Corps in August 1969. He served a tour in Vietnam in 1970 where he claims he “had to grow up fast” with his first assignment being with Ambush and Patrol, 1st Military Police Battalion. After his tour, Zupko’s career took him back and forth from California to Okinawa, Japan. His special tours of duty included a tour of duty as a drill instructor in San Diego, Calif., and an instructor at the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, Calif.

His active-duty career ended in 1989 and he retired with the rank of master sergeant as a supply administration and operations specialist after a two-year tour as an inventory manager here. He then applied for a position with Morale, Welfare and Recreation here, where he worked for six months.

In 1990, he began working as a logistics management specialist where he spent the last 22-plus years with C4IS2, MCLC. 

Zupko recognized and thanked his family for their support. He has been married to his wife, Ann, for more than 40 years.

“I am glad he is retiring because he has been working since the age of 13,” she said.

Ann said she has a honey-to-do list ready for her retired husband.

In addition to his wife’s list of things to do, Zupko said he looks forward to spending his time doing yard work, riding his motorcycle and working on his golf game at Flint River Golf Course in Albany, Ga.