Friday, 09 August 2019 13:00

Saratoga Welcomes New Skipper

Last Friday, Aug. 2, Commander Phillip Boice became the commanding officer of the Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs in a ceremony held at the Saratoga Springs Knights of Columbus location.

“I am humbled by the opportunity to come onboard and work with you,” Boice said.

“As with any command, there are challenges that lay before us. I look forward to meeting these challenges head on.”

Rear Admiral Charles “Chip” Rock, Commander of the Navy Region Mid-Atlantic, presided over the change of command ceremony.

“First off, normally we do these on Navy bases,” Rock said. “Doing it off the Navy base at the Knights of Columbus to me just speaks volumes of partnership that we have here in this community.”

According to the Activity’s website, the Naval Support Unit moved from Scotia to Saratoga Springs in 1999, and in 2010 the name changed to its current name, the Naval Support Activity. The base now has approximately 3,000 active duty members.

During the ceremony, Rock took time to thank the families of the seamen, saying families of the military sacrifice along with their spouses due to duty coming first, family coming second, and that each service member’s combat readiness was directly tied to family readiness.

In addition to employing over 3,000 people for the base’s active service members alone, during its time in the capital region, the Activity has become one of the only nuclear training facilities for the Navy.

According to the Activity’s Facebook page, “many of the Navy’s nuclear operators flow through Saratoga Springs every year as they complete the final phase of the Navy nuclear power training pipeline at Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa.”

Rock said that the ceremony was “more than just a celebration. It’s a renewal of this military tradition where we pass total and ultimate responsibility, authority and accountability from one Commander to another.”

Commander Christopher Tejeda, whom Boice is succeeding, spoke about his time as the Activity’s Commander and how grateful he was.

During his two-year tenure, Tejeda ensured sustained operation support to the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit in Ballston Spa, and fostered and expanded the Navy’s relationship within the community by working with state and local elected officials and leaders to build a multi- purpose field house utilizing a $450,000 grant, according to a news media advisory for the event.

Rock listed out Tejeda’s various other accomplishments, including winning conservation awards, educating the public about the role of the Navy and creating mutual support between the Navy and local government and law enforcement.

“Chris, you’ve made a tremendous difference here, a tremendous difference in many many lives, and I thank you for who you are and all that you’ve done,” Rock said. “And although it’s bittersweet to say farewell to Commander Tejeda, we also have the privilege of welcoming Commander Boice as he takes over.”

Rock concluded by welcoming and congratulating Boice personally, then saying “I guarantee you this: we will dedicate ourselves to ensure that you and your team have continued success.”

Tejeda then spoke about his time in command of the Activity, including how he never thought he would be in command at all, and thanked the various people who helped him along the way, such as his family and the officer who had allowed him enough time to take the tests to rise through the ranks.

After Tejeda concluded, he officially handed over command to Boice. As a part of the ceremony, one of Boice’s daughters, Audrey, fastened an insignia to his uniform.

According to the announcer for the event, “in the United States Navy, the Command Ashore insignia was established to recognize the responsibility placed on officers who are in command of or who have successfully commanded shore activities.”

Boice then took the stage himself for the final remarks of the ceremony. He thanked Tejeda for putting the Activity on the correct trajectory for success and for ensuring that he was properly prepared for the command, as well as various other people and groups present and watching via the ceremony’s live stream.

“Thank you for being here today, and for your confidence in me to lead team Saratoga Springs,” Boice concluded. “I’m humbled to be a part of this staff, and honored to take command. Thank you."

For more information, contact the Naval Support Activity Saratoga Springs Public Affairs at 518-886-0200.

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