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Admiral Haney relieves retiring Admiral Walsh

HAGATNA, Guam (Pacific Daily News, Jan. 21, 2012) – The U.S. Pacific Fleet has a new commander who will focus on maritime security and freedom of the seas, according to a Navy press release.

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, former deputy of the U.S. Strategic Command, relieved Adm. Patrick M. Walsh as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during a change of command ceremony onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on Friday, a release states.

Under Walsh’s command, Pacific Fleet provided humanitarian relief for numerous countries struck by natural disasters including Operation Tomodachi, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief effort conducted in response to the earthquake, tsunami and subsequent radiological crisis that impacted Japan in March 2011.

In his remarks, Walsh spoke of the important role maritime forces play in the vast Pacific Fleet area of responsibility, and the U.S. Navy’s commitment to that role.

"In this region, sea power is an essential element of national power," Walsh said. "In the Pacific century, sea power resumes its traditional role in the sea-lines of communication. It’s an instrument of peace; it’s an instrument of stability; it’s a protector of trade and development."

He warned that other nations are gauging our commitment, particularly in light of budget constraints.

"They are watching with keen interest the effect of the U.S. economic challenges, the strain of more than a decade of war on the Navy’s ability to remain forward, to remain engaged and ready," Walsh said.

Haney said he is "most grateful to Adm. Walsh for his unparalleled leadership of Pacific Fleet and tireless efforts strengthening critical ties to enhance security of the region" as well as the sailors "headquartered here and on station across the Pacific (who) performed remarkably across a wide spectrum of our Navy’s mission areas."

Haney is the 33rd naval officer to command the Pacific Fleet since it was established in February 1941 with headquarters at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. A graduate of the United States Naval Academy with a bachelor’s of science degree in oceanic engineering, Haney is also a recipient of the Vice Admiral James Stockdale Leadership Award for 1998.

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