The current commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and 5th Fleet has been tapped for a fourth star and promotion to vice chief of naval operations, the Pentagon announced Thursday.

Vice Adm. Patrick M. Walsh was nominated for the post and promotion to full admiral by President Bush.

Walsh’s replacement, Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff, was announced last week. Cosgriff is currently serving as deputy commander and chief of staff at U.S. Atlantic Fleet/Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

Walsh, a naval aviator by trade, assumed command of NAVCENT and 5th Fleet, headquartered in Bahrain, in October 2005.

According to his Navy biography, Walsh graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1977. His first assignment as an aviator was with the “Golden Dragons” of Attack Squadron 192, with the USS America.

Walsh flew combat missions in support of operations Desert Storm and Provide Comfort from the USS Theodore Roosevelt and commanded a fighter squadron during operations Southern Watch and Deny Flight from the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

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