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Fitzgerald crash investigator assumes command of Navy Region Hawaii

Rear Adm. Brian Fort reads his orders as he assumes command of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Wednesday. Aug. 9. 2017.

CORWIN COLBERT/U.S. NAVY

By WYATT OLSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 9, 2017

FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii — The lead investigator of the USS Fitzgerald collision in June assumed command of Navy Region Hawaii Wednesday during an all-hands call at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

In lieu of the usual pomp and ceremony of a change of command, Rear Adm. Brian Fort took command with the reading of his orders before a crowd of sailors, airmen and Defense Department civilians, a Navy statement said.

Fort had been slated to step into position with a regular change-of-command ceremony in June, but it was canceled when he was notified to immediately report to Yokosuka, Japan to investigate the crash, the Navy said.

The destroyer Fitzgerald collided with a Philippine-flagged container ship June 17 about 60 miles southwest of Yokosuka. Seven crew members died.

The Navy has not yet released findings from the investigation.

“While I am not able to speak about the details of the investigation, I would ask you to continue to keep the Fitzgerald ohana in your thoughts and prayers for the seven shipmates we lost in the early morning hours of June 17th,” Fort said in the statement.

Fort replaces Rear Adm. John Fuller, and as commander Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific he oversees Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Oahu and Pacific Missile Range Facility, Kauai. He’s also in charge of the 10 surface ships homeported in Hawaii.

Fort was an operations officer aboard the USS Ingersoll and USS Lake Erie, which were both formerly homeported at Pearl Harbor, according to his official biography. He was the executive officer aboard Hawaii-based USS Port Royal in the wake of 9/11 attacks.

He received a master’s degree from the Naval War College in national security and strategic studies.

olson.wyatt@stripes.com
Twitter: @WyattWOlson

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