By MC1(EXW/SW/AW) Stacy D. Laseter

Navy Region Southeast Public Affairs

Commander, Navy Region Southeast (CNRSE) held a change of command ceremony aboard Naval Air Station (NAS) Jacksonville Feb. 23. 

During the ceremony, Rear Adm. Babette "Bette" Bolivar relieved Rear Adm. Mary Jackson as the region's commander.

The time-honored ceremony marked an end to Jackson's leadership of the command that she has headed since July 2014. 

CNRSE supports and guides 18 installations throughout the Southeastern United States and the Caribbean. 

Vice Adm. Dixon Smith, commander, Navy Installations Command, served as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

He presented Jackson with the Legion of Merit for her performance of outstanding services and achievements. 

"From the front line of Chatanooga to being hand picked to lead, execute and host the first ever East Coast port visit by our Chinese counterparts, the People's Liberation Army (Navy), to being a champion for renewable energy, the list of Mary's accomplishments during her time at the Southeast Region is truly extraordinary," said Smith. 

Originally from Wimberley, Texas, Jackson entered the U.S. Naval Academy in July 1984, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in physics with an emphasis in oceanography.

She later went on to earn a graduate degree from George Washington University in engineering management and became qualified as a joint specialty officer. Jackson reported to CNRSE from her previous assignment as chief of staff to Commander, Navy Region Mid-Atlantic in Norfolk, Virginia. She will be going on to head Commander, Naval Installations Command, relieving Dixon. 

She thanked the installations, the community, and the Navy Region Southeast staff.

"To the staff:  keep doing what you do," Jackson said. "Challenge us to be better. Continue to be awesome shipmates to each other. Varsity level team, that's what you are. You know how to maximize each other's strengths and weaknesses, and we all have weaknesses, but it's what we are together. I'll miss you and I'm very proud of you."

Bolivar addressed the CNRSE team for the first time as the region's 40th commander.

"I am truly honored and humbled to take the helm and I will do my absolute best to maintain the high standards of excellence that Adm. Jackson has set for this region," Bolivar said before congratulating Jackson on a job well done.

Bolivar is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in oceanography.

She holds a Master of Science in management from Troy State University. Her previous assignments include Commander, Navy Region Northwest and, most recently, Commander, Joint Region Marianas.