NOAA 99R801
Contact: Jeanne Kouhestani

NOAA Corps Commander Roger L. Parsons Takes Over Command of the Oceanographic Research Ship RONALD H. BROWN
Ship Departs Next Week on Global Cruise to Study Climate Change

Cmdr. Roger L. Parsons of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Commissioned Officers Corps took command today of the NOAA Ship RONALD H. BROWN, one of the most technologically advanced seagoing research platforms in the world. Parsons assumes command as the ship prepares to leave on a year-long, global cruise to study global climate change and other critical environmental issues across the world's oceans, NOAA said today.

Parsons is the second to command the 274-ft. NOAA vessel, which was commissioned in July 1997. He replaces Captain David Peterson, NOAA Corps, who was instrumental in getting the new ship operational and ready to successfully carry out its first and succeeding missions. The change of command ceremony was held today at NOAA's Atlantic Marine Center in Norfolk, VA.

"I have every confidence that Cmdr. Parsons will continue the outstanding leadership and standards of excellence established by Capt. Peterson as commanding officer of RONALD H. BROWN," said Rear Admiral William Stubblefield, Director of the Office of NOAA Corps Operations. "Cmdr. Parsons possesses the same skills to carry on the exceptional tradition that has been started, and with his highly honed mariner skills and deep appreciation for the scientific programs, he'll make an outstanding commanding officer. Under Cmdr. Parson's leadership, the RONALD H. BROWN will pursue and achieve even greater accomplishments."

Parsons' command of BROWN follows three years as chief of the Atlantic Marine Center's Operations Division. A NOAA Corps officer since 1975, his prior shore assignments have included tours as the executive and commanding officer of the NOAA Officer Training Center; NOAA liaison to the Naval Oceanography Command; and NOAA fleet inspection officer. Parsons' sea assignments have included command tours aboard NOAA Ships CHAPMAN and MT. MITCHELL.

Parsons earned a bachelor's degree in oceanography and meteorology from the State University of New York Maritime College, and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Southern Mississippi. He resides in Williamsburg, Va., with his wife Annette and their two children, Anne and Michael.

The Office of NOAA Corps Operations, composed of civilians and commissioned officers, manages and operates the agency's fleet of ships and aircraft. All NOAA Corps officers hold degrees --- many of them advanced – in science, engineering or math. The NOAA Corps is the nation's smallest uniformed service.

RONALD H. BROWN is home ported in Charleston, S.C. Its complement includes five commissioned officers, 20 civilian crew members, and up to 34 scientists.