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Pacific Fleet Gets New Commander Amid North Korea Tensions, Mishap Crisis
A Navy fighter pilot who less than five months ago became head of Navy forces in the Middle East has been selected as the next commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Friday that President Donald Trump nominated Vice Adm. John C. Aquilino for the rank of four-star admiral and the important Hawaii job at a time of concern over fleet operations and safety in the region and extreme tensions with North Korea.
Adm. Scott Swift, current commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, was seen as a shoo-in as the next head of U.S. Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith — until he was told he was being passed over for the job by Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, in the wake of a series of Navy ship collisions in the Western Pacific last year.
Swift in late September announced he planned to retire — with no date given.
“Submitting this request now is done with an abundance of respect and admiration for the CNO and his leadership, as well as for the chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and secretary of defense as both of them face the challenge of selecting someone to step into the leadership role” of Adm. Harry Harris, head of Pacific Command.
It was an unusual public response to the chief of naval operations by the four-star commander.
Aquilino, a native of Huntington, N.Y., graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984. He entered flight training and earned his wings in August 1986. He served in numerous operational fighter squadrons flying the F-14 A/B Tomcat and the F-18 C/E/F Hornet, his Navy biography states. He has more than 5,100 flight hours and over 1,150 carrier-arrested landings.
Aquilino served on extended deployments in support of Operations Deny Flight, Deliberate Force, Southern Watch, Noble Eagle, Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom. He also was director of maritime operations for Pacific Fleet.
In his most recent job, which he assumed Sept. 19, Aquilino was commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and commander of Fifth Fleet and Maritime Forces Bahrain.
The world’s largest fleet command, U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles and nearly half the earth’s surface, from Antarctica to the Arctic Circle and from the U.S. West Coast into the Indian Ocean. Pacific Fleet has about 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians.
©2018 The Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
A Marine wanted for killing his mother's boyfriend reportedly escaped police by hiding inside an RV they'd spent hours searching before towing it to a parking lot, where he escaped under the cover of darkness.
It wasn't until more than two weeks later authorities finally caught up to Michael Brown at his mom's home, which was the scene of the crime.
Brown stuffed himself into a tight spot in his camper during an hours-long search of the vehicle on Nov. 10, according to NBC affiliate WSLS in Virginia. A day earlier, cops said Brown fatally shot his mother's boyfriend, Rodney Brown. The AWOL Marine remained on the lam until Nov. 27, where he was finally apprehended without incident.
No motive is yet known for last week's Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard shooting tragedy, which appears to have been a random act of violence in which the sailor who fatally shot two civilian workers and himself did not know them and did not plan his actions ahead of time, shipyard commander Capt. Greg Burton said in an "All Hands" message sent out Friday.
Machinist's Mate Auxiliary Fireman Gabriel Antonio Romero of San Antonio, an armed watch-stander on the attack submarine USS Columbia, shot three civilian workers Dec. 4 and then turned a gun on himself while the sub rested in dry dock 2 for a major overhaul, the Navy said.
"The investigation continues, but there is currently no known motive and no information to indicate the sailor knew any of the victims," Burton said.
SEOUL (Reuters) - North Korea said it had successfully conducted another test at a satellite launch site, the latest in a string of developments aimed at "restraining and overpowering the nuclear threat of the U.S.", state news agency KCNA reported on Saturday.
The test was conducted on Friday at the Sohae satellite launch site, KCNA said, citing a spokesman for North Korea's Academy of Defence Science, without specifying what sort of testing occurred.
Since the Washington Post first published the "Afghanistan papers," I have been reminded of a scene from "Apocalypse Now Redux" in which Army Col. Walter Kurtz reads to the soldier assigned to kill him two Time magazine articles showing how the American people had been lied to about Vietnam by both the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations.
In one of the articles, a British counterinsurgency expert tells Nixon that "things felt much better and smelled much better" during his visit to Vietnam.
"How do they smell to you, soldier?" Kurtz asks.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Erik Prince, the controversial private security executive and prominent supporter of U.S. President Donald Trump, made a secret visit to Venezuela last month and met Vice President Delcy Rodriguez, one of socialist leader Nicolas Maduro's closest and most outspoken allies, according to five sources familiar with the matter.