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Walsh prepares to take charge of Pacific Fleet


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POSTED: Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Adm. Patrick M. Walsh will assume command of the Pacific Fleet and its 125,000 personnel on Friday at Pearl Harbor.

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Walsh, who comes to Hawaii after serving as vice chief of naval operations, will replace Adm. Robert F. Willard, who will assume command of the U.S. Pacific Command on Oct. 19.

Willard will replace Adm. Timothy J. Keating, who will retire.

Since 1958, when the Pacific Fleet was established as a separate command from the Pacific Command, at least five admirals have held the two jobs in succession, the last being Thomas Fargo in 2005.

Walsh will assume command of 180 ships and submarines, 1,500 aircraft and 125,000 sailors, Marines and civilians assigned to the Pacific and Asian theaters.

Walsh graduated from the Naval Academy in 1977 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He also holds advance degrees from Tufts University.

Walsh, a naval aviator, was a member of the Navy's Blue Angels flight demonstration squadron and flew combat missions in the 1991 Desert Storm conflict. He has commanded a carrier air wing, Naval Forces Central Command and the 5th Fleet.