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Fenton takes helm of Naval Forces Japan at challenging time

Incoming Naval Forces Japan Commander Rear Adm. Gregory Fenton speaks during a change-of-command ceremony at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Friday, June 16, 2017.

TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

By TYLER HLAVAC | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 16, 2017

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Rear Adm. Gregory Fenton has taken command of Naval Forces Japan, which will be challenged with relocating six aviation units from Naval Air Station Atsugi to Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni later this year.

Fenton replaces Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, who moves to Hawaii to become U.S. Pacific Fleet’s deputy commander.

Commander Naval Forces Japan supports naval ships in the region and oversees facilities at Yokosuka, Atsugi, Misawa Air Base, Sasebo Naval Base, on Okinawa and at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

“These facilities allow 7th Fleet to rapidly generate combat power from Japan,” said 7th Fleet Commander Vice. Adm. Joseph Aucoin, who presided Friday’s change-of-command ceremony. “They allow us to transfer large amounts of supplies, fuel, ordnance, personnel and the all the other things a fleet needs.”

Fenton, citing the transfer of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 125 from Atsugi to Iwakuni earlier this month, said the project is on track.

“Right now the U.S. and Japanese governments have agreed to a timeline of the transfer,” he said. “We’ve seen part of that executed. So, the process has initiated and we fully intend to adhere to the timelines we’ve agreed to with the government of Japan.”

Fenton commanded the USS George Washington when it was forward deployed to Yokosuka and served as the Navy’s director of operations and plans before returning to Japan.

hlavac.tyler@stripes.com

Outgoing Naval Forces Japan Commander Rear Adm. Matthew Carter, left, receives the Legion of Merit award from 7th Fleet Commander Vice. Adm. Joseph Aucoin during a change-of-command ceremony at Yokosuka Naval Base, Japan, Friday, June 16, 2017.
TYLER HLAVAC/STARS AND STRIPES

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