NEWS | July 27, 2016

NSA receives new commander

By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Sean M. Stafford Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Naval Support Activity (NSA) Charleston held a change of command and retirement ceremony at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum aboard the USS Yorktown (CV 10), Aug 31, 2016.

Capt. Robert Hudson, former Naval Power Training Unit Charleston commander, relieved Capt. Timothy G. Sparks as Commanding Officer, NSA Charleston and Joint Base Charleston Deputy Commander.

Rear Admiral Mary Jackson, Commander, Navy Region Southeast, delivered the change of command ceremony's keynote address. In her remarks, she acknowledged Spark's numerous accomplishments, commended him for his commitment to the U.S. Navy and his personification of the leadership.

"Today we are combining two significant milestones a change of command and a retirement ceremony. Both are time-honored traditions and our profession at arms believes deeply in their importance," said Jackson. "So first let's talk about command. Command is the crowning achievement in an officer's career where only the best of the best are chosen." Jackson continued, "It is a job that brings immense personal satisfaction and unrelenting pressure. The highest highs and lowest lows are experienced in command. In the words of President Harry S. Truman, "The buck stops here." Because you are one of the best of the best, along with your responsibility as the NSA commander, we muddied the waters just a little bit and added the additional duty of being the deputy commander of one our national premier joint bases. You have done an exceptional job."

Sparks served as NSA commanding officer and deputy commander of Joint Base Charleston from June 2013 until July 2016 and was awarded the Legion of Merit for his leadership. He was instrumental in the success of joint base Charleston and its 67 mission partners supporting operations worldwide. Upon taking command, Sparks led the planning and implemented the first ever joint base unit effectiveness inspection achieving a highly effective mission rating.

"With every award it's really the folks who work for you doing all the work to make these things happen," said Sparks. "To the naval support activity folks and the air force folks, it really is your award and I really do appreciate the efforts you put forward."

Sparks retired honorably from the U.S. Navy after serving more than 38 years. Enlisting in 1977 as a nuclear trained machinist mate, he made his way up through the ranks finishing his enlisted career as a Chief Petty Officer aboard the submarine USS James Monroe (SSBN 622). Sparks was then selected for the Limited Duty Officer program and was commissioned in October 1990. In the intervening years, he progressed through the officer ranks, completing his Surface Warfare Officer qualifications and serving as the Executive Officer of the USS Frank Cable (AS-400) before assuming command of NSA Charleston.

During his first speech in command, Hudson expressed how honored he was to serve in his new capacity at Joint Base Charleston.

"The Lord has blessed me through my naval career from boot camp to command," said Hudson.  "At each and every one of my assignments I've had the distinct pleasure to serve with outstanding individuals both as my subordinates, my peers and my bosses. It is because of their exceptional efforts that I can stand here today as Naval Support Activity Commanding Officer and Joint Base Charleston Deputy Commander. Where I begin becoming a part of an elite group of professionals."