Adm. William Fallon was piped aboard the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt on Friday for a ceremony during which the Navy's Fleet Forces Command got a new leader.

Fallon due
to take helm
in Pacific

The admiral arrives amid
tensions on the Korean
peninsula and in
the Taiwan Strait

Adm. William "Fox" Fallon will become the 20th commander of all military forces in the Pacific at a change-of-command ceremony Saturday on Bordelon Field at Camp Smith.

Air Force Gen. Richard Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will be the highest-ranking military person who will attend Saturday's ceremony, which will begin at 10 a.m.

Until Friday, Fallon, 60, was commander of Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va. His selection to head the command, which spans 43 countries in the Pacific and South Asia, was approved by the full Senate on Thursday.

Fallon's responsibility also includes military planning and operations in two of the world's most serious potential flash points: the Korean peninsula and the Taiwan Strait.

As the senior U.S. military commander in the Pacific and Indian Ocean areas, Fallon will lead the largest of the unified commands and will direct Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force operations across more than 100 million square miles. He is a former vice chief of naval operations.

Fallon will replace Adm. Thomas Fargo, who is retiring and will remain in Hawaii with his wife, Sarah. Fargo will become a member of the board for Hawaiian Electric Industries and its subsidiary, Hawaiian Electric Co., on Tuesday.

Fallon was not President Bush's original choice to replace Fargo. Air Force Gen. Gregory Martin was forced to withdrew his name in December after a Senate confirmation hearing where Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., sharply criticized his close professional ties to a top Air Force official embroiled in a procurement scandal.

As commander of the Fleet Forces Command since October 2003, Fallon was responsible for more than 200,000 sailors and officers, 250 ships and submarines, and 3,000 aircraft based on both coasts.

Fallon was born in Merchantville, N.J., and flew combat missions in the Vietnam War. He commanded a carrier air wing in the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and four years later led the naval battle group supporting NATO operations in Bosnia.

As vice chief of naval operations in 2001, Fallon had to fly to Japan as Bush's envoy to apologize to the families of teachers, crewmen and nine students who were killed when the nuclear submarine USS Greeneville collided with a Japanese fishing school trawler, the Ehime Maru, off Diamond Head.

Fargo, a submarine officer, has headed the Pacific Command since May 2002 and was in charge of U.S. naval operations in the Pacific during the Greeneville accident.

He served as the 29th commander of the U.S Pacific Fleet from October 1999 to May 2002.

U.S. Pacific Command

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