CDR Saverio De Ruggiero, Jr., USN, (Ret.), 87, of Middletown, RI, formerly of Newport, RI, passed away on May 13, 2023, in Newport Hospital.
Saverio De Ruggiero was born on September 12, 1935, in Yonkers, NY, the son of the late Saverio and Anna (DiDavide) De Ruggiero. He attended St. Louis University and received his undergraduate degree from lona College. He was a distinguished graduate of the Naval War College and earned his master’s degree from the George Washington University.
Saverio’s early family adventures include the weathering of the 1938 hurricane while on vacation in Connecticut, a July 4, 1940, bomb explosion at the British pavilion, New York World’s Fair, killing New York City bomb squad members. Later, on a family visit to NYC, the family witnessed the capsizing of the burning SS Normandy.
He was commissioned an Ensign in the Supply Corps of the United States Navy and assigned to duty onboard USS Glacier (AGB-4), an icebreaker. He made two voyages from Boston to Antarctica in support of the International Geophysical Year explorations of the late 1950s. Glacier distinguished herself by penetrating the Bellingshausen Sea and transiting the Gerlach Strait. Glacier became icebound off the coast of the Palmer Peninsula but freed itself in time to rescue famed explorer Sir Vivian Fuchs who was icebound onboard the MV Kista Dan, as well as an Argentinian icebreaker, ARA General San Martin. Homebound, she was diverted to the Amazon River delta, where her boats and helicopters were used to rescue Natives stranded by floodwaters. Ports of call during the voyages included Panama, Flint Island within the Marianas group, Pago Pago, Christ Church and Wellington, New Zealand, McMurdo Sound, Port Staley, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Recife, and San Juan. Earlier ports of call included Guantanamo Bay and St. Thomas.
Following service onboard Glacier, he was transferred to the Atlantic office of the Military Sea Transportation Service, where he specialized in the activation and support of USNS ships. Major products included support of UN forces deployed to the former Belgian Congo, and preparation of assets in preparation of the U.S. Invasion of Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
His next duty station was that of Commissioning Supply Offer onboard USS Conyngham (DDG-17). He made one cruise to the Mediterranean Sea, earning a Supply “E” for excellence. He then attended the Navy’s Transportation Management School in Oakland, CA, before assignment to the staff of the Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, in Washington, DC. Assignment as the Commanding Officer of the Navy Cargo Handling Battalion Two, deployed to Vietnam, followed. He was a veteran of the “Tet Offensive,” repelling Viet Cong insurgents attempting to board an ammunition ship, the SS American Ranger.
Following Vietnam, he was transferred to the staff of the Commander, Cruiser-Destroyer Force, and US Atlantic Fleet. Serving as the command’s Supply Support Officer, He was responsible for the supply support of deployed combatants and for the approved delivery of new construction and conversion of Atlantic fleet combatants. He then transferred as a student to the Naval War College and subsequently as the commissioning Operations Officer of the Naval Staff Course for international officers. He was temporarily assigned to the Commander, Naval District One, for the purpose of removing Newport’s fleet. He then returned to the War College as the institution’s first Director of Finance, where he remained until his 1978 retirement. He returned to the college as a member of the distance learning faculty, leaving that position in 1998 as Saverio and his family retired to Middletown, RI.
He is survived by his wife, Carol Ann (Hopkins) De Ruggiero, of Middletown, RI, a daughter Diane Marie (Glenn Wolf) De Ruggiero, of Portsmouth, and numerous nephews and a niece in Florida, California, Tennessee, and South Carolina. Saverio was preceded in death by his brother Anthony and sisters Angela and Anna Marie.
Services for CDR De Ruggiero will be held privately. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The Naval War College Foundation. https://nwcfoundation.org/donate/