YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. Naval Forces and Navy Region Japan held a change of command ceremony June 16 at the Commander, Fleet Activities Yokosuka (CFAY) Benny Decker Theater.
Rear Adm. Gregory J. Fenton became the 34th Commander , U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and also serves as Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNRJ) after relieving Rear Adm. Matthew J. Carter.
During Carter's farewell speech he expressed his gratitude and thanks to the men and women who make up the CNFJ/CNRJ team.
"I thank you immensely," said Carter. "You rose to every task and exceeded all expectations. This was, and is, truly a team effort."
Carter added that there was no officer more qualified to relieve him than Fenton, who has served multiple tours in Japan as a member of the Forward Deployed Naval Force (FDNF).
Fenton returned to Japan to become CNFJ/CNRJ following a tour as the Director of Operations and Plans, OPNAV N31 in Washington, D.C. and previously as the commanding officer of the aircraft carrier USS George Washington (CVN 73), which was forward deployed to Yokosuka.
"As I look forward to the future of CNFJ / CNRJ, I am mindful of the power that key partnerships generate, including those continuing relationships with the Kaijo Jieitai and Japan’s Self Defense Forces,” said Fenton. “It is vitally important that we continue to nurture and further develop those relationships, closely coordinating our activities as we face the current and future challenges across the region. We must also continue to recognize the roles that our installations and support infrastructure play in supporting the Fleets, especially 7th Fleet, and our joint and international partners."
Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, was the distinguished guest and praised Carter and the CNFJ/CNRJ team for their work.
"The capability you provide is critical to the defense of United States interests in the Pacific, and to regional stability. It is critical to the defense of Japan,” said Aucoin. “Your expertise, your judicious use of resources, and your training are all resources on which I depend.”
Carter will leave Japan for Hawaii and his new assignment as deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The mission of CNFJ/CNRJ is to support the ships and personnel of the U.S. Seventh Fleet. Its area of responsibility encompasses six naval shore activities in Japan and the Indo-Pacific region: Naval Air Facility Misawa, Naval Air Facility Atsugi, Fleet Activities Yokosuka, Fleet Activities Sasebo, Fleet Activities Okinawa and Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia in the British Indian Ocean Territory.