Locklear Takes PACOM’s Reins

Adm. Samuel Locklear succeeded Adm. Robert Willard as head of US Pacific Command in a ceremony at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii. “I’m extremely privileged to assume this command that is well-led, well-organized, and . . . has clear strategic intent and clear direction from our nation’s leadership,” said Locklear during the March 9 ceremony. He added: “PACOM is the vanguard of our new US defense strategy” that “clearly recognizes that we are a Pacific nation with significant national interests, key allies, and partners throughout the Asia-Pacific region.” Locklear comes to PACOM’s helm after serving as commander of US Naval Forces Europe since October 2010. In that role, he led NATO forces during the initial phase of last year’s Libya campaign. Willard, who is retiring from the Navy after a 39-year career, had overseen PACOM since October 2009. “I can’t possibly express my full appreciation to US Pacific Command’s 330,000 uniformed and civilian personnel who supported our effort here and across half the world in the past two-and-a-half years,” he said. “It’s been my profound honor to serve you.” (PACOM release) (AFPS report by Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr.)