Story Number: NNS140804-08Release Date: 8/4/2014 11:22:00 AM
By Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kiona Miller, Defense Media Activity, Navy Reserve
BALTIMORE (NNS) -- More than 100 Navy personnel, friends and family members gathered aboard USS Constellation for Navy Operational Support Center (NOSC) Baltimore's change of command ceremony Aug. 2.
Cmdr. John B. Downes relieved Cmdr. Andrew M. Cawfield as commanding officer.
Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Barnes, NOSC executive officer, described the time-honored ceremony as one of the Navy's oldest traditions which began more than 200 years ago, and that little has changed in the way the ceremony is conducted in present day.
Commander of Navy Region Mid-Atlantic Reserve Component Command, Capt. Randy Johnson, attended the ceremony as a distinguished guest and guest speaker. Johnson spoke about the accomplishments of Cawfield during his time as the commanding officer, recognized Sailors who recently returned from mobilization, and the teamwork exemplified between the staff and leadership of NOSC Baltimore.
"Our Navy is a beacon of hope and a global force for good thanks to the commitment to excellence on display here at NOSC Baltimore. Our Navy deploys Sailors and resources wherever in the world they are needed," said Johnson. "The only way we can do that is by having the naval Reservist, the citizen Sailor who stays trained and ready to augment the fleet whenever and wherever needed. NOSC Baltimore provided the needed support to the fleet, enabling Reservists to perform direct operational support to our active forces."
During a traditional ceremony the departing commanding officer receives an award which is earned for notable accomplishments while serving in a commanding position. Cawfield chose to receive his award a few days prior the ceremony, and allowed that time to recognize the accomplishments of Sailors assigned to NOSC Baltimore.
"I am so proud of the work that the staff and various units have accomplished over the past couple of years. It wasn't me, it was all the folks there that really pulled together and put in a team effort and accomplished so much especially over the past couple of months," said Cawfield. "The staff has really pulled together to incorporate the 50 percent expansion of our drilling population without any corresponding increase in staff. They have done a phenomenal job and I couldn't be prouder of them."
Cawdfield's next assignment will be as an instructor to international, interagency and U.S. military students at National Defense University located in Washington, D.C. According to Cawfield, his new position as a faculty member at National Defense University will be a change in pace as his level of responsibility changes from commanding 32 reserve units with more than 1000 personnel to commanding a classroom.
"To the unit leaders and personnel, past and present, here today I would like to say thank you," said Cawfield "It has been a privilege to serve with you over the past couple of years, you are the reason we are here in Baltimore and your dedication to the nation and the Navy is truly commendable."
The incoming commanding officer, Downes, is a native of Maryland and received his commission as an officer from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1994. Since then Downes has attended Surface Warfare Officer School, Basic Diving Salvage Officer School and Explosive Ordinance Disposal School prior to joining the Navy Reserve and in 2011 transferring to Navy Reserve Full-Time Support. Downes has been called upon to support various sea, operational and shore based assignments throughout his career. This will be his first assignment as a commanding officer.
"Truthfully I never thought that I would be standing before you here today accepting the honor of command within the world's greatest Navy," said Downes. "I've made many decisions that ultimately led to this point some of which seem to have pointed in another direction all together. Most recently though, I have made decision specifically so that I could get to this command."