Monday, October 19, 2009

Willard Assumes Command of PACOM

Navy Adm. Robert F. Willard assumed command of U.S. Pacific Command (PACOM) Oct. 19, relieving Navy Adm. Timothy J. Keating during a traditional ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

Hundreds of guests attended, included Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Navy Adm. Mike Mullen.

See coverage by the American Forces Press Service, Stars and Stripes, Associated Press, and KITV.

Willard arrives from U.S. Pacific Fleet, where he served as the commander responsible for U.S. Navy operations throughout Asia-Pacific. He is now responsible for overseeing all U.S. military operations in the region, which encompasses about half the earth’s surface, stretching from the waters off the west coast of the U.S. to the western border of India, and from Antarctica to the North Pole.

Keating, who took command of PACOM in March, 2007, is retiring from the Navy following more than 42 years of service, during which he served in a variety of Navy and joint leadership positions, including U.S. Northern Command.

There are few regions as culturally, socially, economically, and geo-politically diverse as the Asia-Pacific. The 36 nations that comprise the Asia-Pacific region are home to more than 50% of the world’s population, three thousand different languages, several of the world’s largest militaries, and five nations allied with the U.S. through mutual defense treaties. Two of the world’s three largest economies are located in the Asia-Pacific along with ten of the fourteen smallest.

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