MCLB-ALBANY, Ga. -- After two years of working with Marine Corps Logistics Command, its current commanding general is preparing to pass the torch.
The flame will be handed down from Maj. Gen. James Kessler to Brig. Gen. Chuck Hudson, effective following a change-of-command ceremony Thursday morning.
Hudson, who is coming off an assignment in California, has been an active Marine for 30 years. He comes from a military family, having been born in Atlanta while his father was stationed at Fort McPherson.
"(My father) probably influenced me and the way I've served," he said.
During his career, Hudson has had multiple deployments, the most recent a one-year stint in Afghanistan -- which ended roughly two months ago.
Hudson arrived in Albany about a week ago, and since that time has been in a transition period in order to learn the ropes at LOGCOM.
"It's given me an opportunity to look at what we are doing here to help determine what our focus will be going forward," the brigadier general said.
His immediate plans for LOGCOM will be adapting to operations in Afghanistan winding down, and how that will impact the command's workload as equipment starts coming back, and the financial doldrums facing the federal government.
"The focus areas (of LOGCOM) include how we might participate in the retrograde of equipment in Afghanistan," Hudson said. "With the fiscal constraints, it will be a challenge to maintain a high-state environment.
"We will have to figure out how to take care of the Marine Corps family."
Hudson has had more experience in the tactical field than the logistics field, but he says he's up to the challenge of taking these tasks on.
"It's a tremendous opportunity professionally," he said. "(My background) gives me a good foundation to build on.
"There is a learning curve, but my sense is that the commandant would not have put me here if he wasn't confident in my abilities."
Based on his time here so far, Hudson said he will probably like it in Albany.
"We've come across Marines that have served previous tours in Albany, and they've told me, my wife and my girls that this will be the best tour we've had," he said. "I look forward to interacting with the community.
"We're excited to be here."
Hudson, a Citadel alumnus with three teenage daughters, is a Green Bay Packers fan as well as a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Kessler is leaving to embrace his role as the commanding general of the new Marine Corps Installations Command. For that assignment, he will be based at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
"I have very mixed feelings (about leaving)," the outgoing general said. "My wife and I have gotten comfortable here, and we have made tremendous friends. This job has been a remarkable opportunity.
"But, there are new things in Washington and it's intriguing to start something new."
He said one of the best thing about the job he had in Albany was supporting LOGCOM's overall mission.
"I have a strong belief in what we do here," Kessler said. "It is vital to Marines in combat."
He said the only downside to the position was that two years wasn't quite enough time to get everything done, but Kessler is still able to leave with the satisfaction that his job was done well.
"I feel like there was a lot undone for my successor to pick up," the major general said. "I'm happy where we are now, not to suggest there isn't room for improvement.
"Our measurements for success are trending upward. There are plenty of opportunities to do great things here."
Looking back on the last two years, Kessler said he feels fortunate to have had the opportunity to serve with LOGCOM.
"This is one of the rare and unique opportunities for a logistics man to have," he said.
Before coming to LOGCOM, Kessler was director of the manpower management division for Manpower and Reserve Affairs in Quantico, Va. Prior to that, he was in command of the 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, during which time he deployed the 2nd Marine Logistics Group Forward as part of II MEF Forward and Multinational Forces West in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
A native of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., Kessler was commissioned as a second lieutenant in June 1980. He holds advanced degrees in military studies from Marine Corps University, a Master of Science in systems management from the University of Southern California and a Master of Science in national resource strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.