PENSACOLA, Florida. (WKRG) — Capt. Timothy “Lucky” Kinsella retired Thursday, Jan. 13 from Naval Air Station Pensacola.

Kinsella, the commanding officer at NAS Pensacola for the last three years, had served more than three decades in the U.S. Navy.

Kinsella’s retirement ceremony was held at the National Naval Aviation Museum followed a Change of Command Ceremony to welcome in new NAS Pensacola Commanding Officer Capt. Terrence Shashaty.

“I can’t wait to see what he does with this base,” Kinsella said.

Kinsella’s retirement comes after challenging years as the base’s commander.

Under Kinsella’s leadership, the base experienced Hurricane Sally and the terrorist attack in December of 2019.

“I remember I was thinking I had to steal myself from what I was about to see, and I had to be the leader that my people needed,” Kinsella said. “I couldn’t break down. I couldn’t show emotion. I couldn’t portray all the feelings that I had inside. I wanted to be the leader my leader wanted me to be and needed me to be.“

Kinsella said there are several memories he’ll cherish as leader of the base. Several friends took the time Thursday to congratulate Kinsella and thank him for his service, including Rev. Dr. Michael Hoffman.

“There are naval officers who could have led this base over the last three years and made good decisions,” said Hoffman. “We didn’t need them. We needed Tim. We needed his vision and his values and how he lives by them.”

Kinsella welcomed in Shashaty with open arms on Thursday.

“Lucky has put the wheels in motion for some really awesome things to happen in this area — some really cool programs and initiatives that are not only going to benefit this base but this community at large,” Shashaty said. “My plan is just to keep the ball rolling down hill and gaining speed as we go.”

Kinsella plans to retire in Pensacola with his wife and kids.