CHARLESTON, S.C. - United States Navy Capt. Thomas Bailey, a native of Salem, Ore., assumed command of Naval Support Activity Charleston and the position of Joint Base Charleston deputy commander from Capt. Ralph Ward, April 10.
"I've really enjoyed serving at Joint Base Charleston for this final tour,” said Ward. “I'm also pleased to turn over command to Capt. Bailey, a longtime friend and fellow submariner.”
Ward retired April 13 after 30 years of service.
“I’ve had the chance to serve with Captain Ward more than once and in more than one country,” said Bailey. “I’ve always looked up to him as a mentor, and to follow in your mentor’s footsteps is humbling and exciting at the same time.”
Bailey is no stranger to JB Charleston. He served as the commanding officer of Naval Nuclear Power Training Command from Sept. 2007 to Jan. 2012.
“Serving here as a tenant unit commander and now as the base deputy commander, I will have both perspectives, which will help me to approach any issues or constraints with the understanding of both sides,” said Bailey.
Being both commander of NSA Charleston and JB Charleston deputy commander leaves Bailey wearing two hats.
“As NSA commander, I provide administrative, legal and disciplinary support for the Navy personnel attached to Joint Base Charleston,” said Bailey.
Just as any senior ranking service member or commander, Bailey expects the very best from his troops.
“I expect our people, both military and civilian, to come to work every day and feel a sense of pride knowing they have the honor and enormous responsibility, of serving the people of this country,” said Bailey. “I want them to realize what they do is very important no matter how junior or senior they are.”
Bailey stressed the importance of performing at one’s fullest.
“If we don’t perform to the best of our abilities we won’t realize the full potential of this base,” said Bailey.
Even though Bailey has not worked closely with the Air Force in the past, as the new JB Charleston deputy commander he has had the opportunity to see the Airmen in action.
“I’ve been impressed by how the soldiers, sailors, Marines, airmen and Coast Guardsmen work as a team here,” said Bailey.
Bailey went on to explain how the service members here have taken the time to learn one another’s heritage and to understand their counterparts culture.
“They respect one another,” said Bailey. “As they work closely together they are not just learning one another’s heritage, they are creating a joint culture as well.”
Bailey chose to join the Navy because his father served as a sailor in the Korean War and his grandfather was a Marine.
“I attended the Naval Academy because I thought it was a great educational opportunity and the best way for me to serve my country,” said Bailey. “I figured I would do my service and then find my true passion in life, but I haven’t found anything else I would enjoy more than what the Navy allows me to do. I still feel fortunate and honored every time I put on my uniform.”
Graduating from the Naval Academy in 1983, Bailey has been on active duty for more than 25 years and has served in several different positions in the Navy throughout his career.
“Whether it was being the commander of a fast attack submarine or a commander of the Nuclear Power Training Command overseeing 10,000 future nuclear operators or now as the commander of the NSA and deputy commander of Joint Base Charleston, what I’ve enjoyed most about my service is the people I’ve met or led,” said Bailey. “No other organization can bring individuals from all sorts of backgrounds from all over the world and have them work together as well as the military does. That is definitely one of the reasons why I have stayed in so long.”