JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. –
After a chance encounter with a recruiter, a kid from Alabama uncertain of his future was sent on a journey to Nuclear Power School in Orlando, Florida, around the world as a submarine officer and finally to Joint Base Charleston. That career drew to a ceremonious close at the Joint Base Charleston Naval Weapons Station Red Bank Club June 29, 2018.
Now that U.S. Navy Capt. Robert Hudson’s career is complete and the accolades have been recorded, he reflects fondly on his years in uniform dating back to 1982 when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy.
“I saw joining the Navy as a way to serve my country, grow as an individual and raise money to go to college at the end of my enlistment. However, opportunities presented themselves and I acted,” said Hudson. “I knew I wanted to be a Nuclear Operator and wanted to get to boot camp at the earliest opportunity, so selecting Machinist Mate was the way to do that. Nothing magical other than being ready to start my journey.”
Hudson feels that joining the military is a great path for all young people -- especially those unsure as to what they "want to do when they grow up" like he was. He said serving at least one enlistment in the military is a great way to start adulthood.
“The significant takeaway from this is ‘seize the day.’ Take advantage of every opportunity that you are given,” said Hudson. “I saw an opportunity to get an Electrical Engineering degree, receive a commission in the United States Navy and fight on our submarines, so I applied for the Navy's Nuclear Enlisted Commissioning Program, got accepted and ultimately received my commission.”
Hudson said the longer he served, the more impressed he became with service members specifically their dedication and work ethic.
“I loved serving on submarines and set a goal to become a commanding officer someday,” said Hudson. “However, the more time I served, the more impressed I was with the people who serve our country. I continued because of the people.”
After his time on nuclear submarines, Hudson came to Joint Base Charleston to command Nuclear Power Training Unit Charleston, where he was responsible for training the next generation of Navy officers and enlisted Sailors in the operation, maintenance and supervision of Navy nuclear propulsion plants. Following his time there, he spent his final two years commanding Naval Support Activity Charleston and as the Joint Base Charleston deputy commander.
“Of all the many things we accomplished as an installation over the last two years, I am most happy about the teamwork that we were able to build across the base with our many mission partners,” he said. “Our goal was to provide the best service to our partners and build lasting relationships along the way.”
More than any mission accomplished under his watch, he felt the most important thing he could do was show those working for him that he cares for them not only as service members, but also as individuals. He was always impressed by their ability to rise to the challenges they faced protecting and defending the United States and their readiness and willingness to fight when called into action.
“Remember that integrity and moral character are the foundations for strong, servant leadership,” said Hudson. “Remember integrity is an inward characteristic with outward consequences that make a lasting difference and impact. Always remember that your integrity cannot be taken from you, it can only be given.”
Thirty-six years after meeting with that recruiter, Hudson is just as confused about what he “wants to do when he grows up,” but this time he is equipped with the tools he has gained through service.