Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general, Third Army.

Lt. Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, commanding general, Third Army. (Third Army/Wikipedia)

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Lt. Gen. Vincent Brooks has been nominated by President Barack Obama to assume command of U.S. Army forces in the Pacific.

A U.S. Army Pacific statement also confirmed Tuesday that Obama has elevated the position to a four-star command.

The decision comes as the administration and the Pentagon continue what they have dubbed a “rebalance” of forces toward the Asia-Pacific region. The rebalancing also includes plans to position 60 percent of the Navy’s ships in the Pacific.

If confirmed by Congress, Brooks is slated to assume command June 5 at the Army’s Pacific headquarters at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.

Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski has asked to retire after 34 years in the Army, the last eight of which were spent in various Pacific commands, Army officials said.

Brooks currently commands Third Army, which includes oversight of all soldiers in the Central Command area of responsibility, and conducts ground sustainment operations in Afghanistan. He is a former commander of the 1st Infantry Division.

Brooks graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1980, where he became the first African-American cadet in the school’s history to be named cadet brigade commander, according to his official biography.

U.S. Army Pacific includes approximately 62,000 soldiers spanning from Alaska to the Asia-Pacific region, including Japan. In 2011, the command integrated the South Korea-based U.S. 8th Army’s personnel and administrative functions, although U.S. Forces Korea retained operational control for combat.

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