By Mr. Douglas Sample (SMDCARSTRAT)August 30, 2012
FORT GEORGE G. MEADE, Md. (Aug. 30, 2012) -- Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Army Cyber Command notched another first when it heralded its first change of command in a ceremony held Aug. 21 at the Fort Meade Museum.
After taking the company's first command on Jan. 19, 2011, Maj. Lucas C. Sparks relinquished command to Capt. Jena M. Roark.
During his remarks, Lt. Gen. Rhett A. Hernandez, commanding general, Army Cyber Command, lauded Sparks' efforts as he led the company through a challenging start-up, and charged Roark to carry on the success.
The command, he said, will continue to grow under Roark's leadership.
"I know you will provide her your continued support with what I've charged her to do," Hernandez said.
Hernandez noted that Army Cyber Command is fortunate to have Roark as its new HHC commander because she brings a wealth of experience to the job.
Roark is a Reserve Officers' Training Corps graduate of Eastern Illinois University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in humanities and communication.
Aside from a military resume that boasts increasing responsibility, Roark is taking company-level command for the third time in her career. She has commanded Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 50th Signal Battalion, and Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, U.S. Army Garrison, Garmish, Germany.
"Hopefully, the third time is a charm," Roark joked in her comments. "Maybe I'll get it right this time."
Hernandez, who served with Sparks in Iraq with the 1st Armored Division, credited him with growing HHC from four people and an empty building to its current organization of more than 500 people in nine buildings spread between Fort Meade and Fort Belvoir, Va.
"He helped build a command from scratch," Hernandez said. "He helped create all the things essential to the administration of a headquarters. He's been responsible for establishing the things that other units take for granted - critical things like safety, health and welfare, training, leave, physical fitness, family care, and morale programs - all essential to the heartbeat of a unit."
Hernandez said Sparks, 1st Sgt. Scottie Jarrett and the HHC team played a major role in more than two dozen events that the command hosted, from food drives and training events to newcomer briefings and town halls.
"You name it and HHC has had a hand in it," Hernandez said. "You are the command's 'go-to-team.' I count on you daily, and you never let me down."
In his remarks, Sparks said he too, was amazed at all that has been accomplished over the past 22 months.
He thanked everyone from the commanding general and command sergeant major to his first sergeant and Soldiers.
But the work is not done, he said to Roark.
"It is up to you to refine what I started and finish the building," Sparks said. "Having seen you in action around the office for the last several weeks, you are up to the task. I can already see that the organization is in good hands. You are the right choice for this organization."
Marine Sgt. Michelle Yazzie, a best friend of Roark from high school, said Roark has never backed down from a challenge.
"Jena has always been amazing. She has a wonderful spirit about her," Yazzie said. "She has always been someone to take charge of whatever she can get her hands on. With her, failure is never an option."
Roark's parents, who flew in from Hoopeston, Ill., beamed with pride as their daughter stood in front of her Soldiers for the first time, chanting the Army song.
"We are just so proud of what she has grown up to be," said Sharon Roark of her daughter. "She is a natural born leader."
Roy Roark offered similar praise.
"She's always been a leader," he said. "When she gets that uniform on, she's straight as an arrow. She loves what she is doing."