By Rear Adm. John Fuller, Commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific
It is indeed a great honor to be here in Hawaii, and I am very thankful to join and lead the team at Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group, Middle Pacific.
Last week’s change of command ceremony was inspiring and humbling. My wife, Mary, and I were impressed with the turnout and show of support for our military.
I am honored to publicly thank [U.S.] 3rd Fleet Commander Vice Adm. “Pink” Floyd and Navy Installations Commander Vice Adm. Dixon Smith for presiding at the change of command. Mary and I also thank Rear Adm. Rick Williams and Suzy Williams for their very warm welcome and for their superior work here.
Among my first orders of business will be learning and listening. I’m looking forward to meeting as many of you as possible in the near future and hearing your ideas for building even stronger relationships in the surrounding community.
In fact, as I mentioned at last Friday’s ceremony, one of the first Hawaiian words I learned is ohana. I see great value in the concept of treating everyone as part of an ohana—part of the family.
Our mission is to defend our extended ohana in the United States and do our part to promote the sense of cooperation with our family of allies and friends in the Pacific.
Our region and surface group are committed to delivering a fleet that is ready to fight our nation’s wars and win. The critical imperative for meeting that commitment must be taking care of both our service members and their family’s needs. We face tough challenges and must embrace innovation in order to achieve our goals.
In my previous assignment, I served as deputy for littoral combat ships, surface warfare division. There I saw firsthand how new ways of thinking and fresh perspectives can help us achieve great things, whether in building the future sea services or strengthening alliances and partnerships.
We will do just that next month when the [Navy] Region and MIDPAC team helps the Joint Base host the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II: “70 Years of Peace.” And next year all of us will be part of Commander, U.S. 3rd Fleet’s relationship-building when the Rim of the Pacific exercise returns to Hawaii.
Those are just two examples of the milestones and exciting work ahead. There will be plenty of opportunities for us to work together and achieve common goals.
When I say it’s a great honor to be in Hawaii, I want to explain the context.
With a region view, I reflect on the veterans who served before us with a sense of awe. And I think of the Pearl Harbor, Barking Sands and Hickam legacies and the importance of this region’s installations, tenant commands and historic partners and what they represent.
From the waterfront, I also understand the strategic role our MIDPAC surface ships play in providing forward presence as they support U.S. Pacific Fleet’s rebalance to Indo-Asia-Pacific.
The Navy Region Hawaii/ MIDPAC responsibilities are uppermost in my mind as we enter the Fourth of July weekend to celebrate the freedom and liberties we Americans cherish. We have a mission that is vital to our nation’s security.
Here is my mission critical request to each one of you. Please—do your part to be safe this weekend. Help watch over your shipmates, families and friends.
Let’s keep the ohana safe and ready!