BLACK HISTORY MONTH PROFILE: Rear Admiral Reubin B. Bookert
In recognition of Black History Month, each week we will publish a story on our editorial page about a noteworthy African-American from South Carolina. The stories, primarily a brief biography, are taken from the 2020 South Carolina African American History Calendar produced by the S.C. Department of Education.
Rear Admiral Reubin B. Bookert is a native of Columbia. He graduated from C.A. Johnson High School in 1968 and North Carolina A&T State University with a bachelor’sdegree. He also earned degrees in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College and a master’s degree in Management from Salve Regina University in Newport, R.I. He commissioned in to the United States Navy in February of 1975.
Bookert was promoted to the rank of Rear Admiral in 2002.
In 2004 he assumed duties as commander of Amphibious Group Two in Norfolk, Va. He commanded all Amphibious Forces on the East Coast. His command included 27 warships, 38 shore commands and 15,000 sailors and Marines. Bookert has been awarded numerous decorations, including three Legion of Merit Medals, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Navy Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Medal, and the Humanitarian Service Medal among others. His last assignment was serving as the Commander of Maritime Forces, which consisted of 45 multinational warships that provided relief for the victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, La.
Bookert reported to his first fleet assignment in March of 1976 as communications officer aboard the U.S.S. Truett. Subsequent sea tours include communications officer in Destroyer Squadron 24, weapons officer in U.S.S. Joseph Hewes, operations officer in U.S.S. La Moure County and executive officer aboard the U.S.S. Blakely. His command-at-sea tours include: commanding officer, U.S.S. La Moure County and commanding officer of the amphibious assault ship, U.S.S. Kearsarge.
He served on the board of directors for the Tidewater Virginia Area Urban League. He is a member of Richland School District One Hall of Fame, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., and the Spann Watson Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. He retired from the Navy in 2006.
Ashore, Bookert served at the Navy Recruiting District in Atlanta, Ga. and at Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base in Fla.
Bookert and his wife, Marvis, reside in Blythewood. They have two sons, Brian and Russell and a granddaughter, Hannah. He is currently employed by the Department of Veterans Affairs as the chief of support services in the Columbia Regional office.
Honorees for the 2020 South Carolina African American History Calendar are chosen for their accomplishments and profound impacts African American history and culture has had in the past, present, and future of our state and nation. The 2020 honorees have helped shape South Carolina and its citizens in extraordinary ways – through business, education, medicine, and public service. For information on the 2020 South Carolina African American History Calendar, visit www.scafricanamerican.com.