Change of command ceremony held at Pearl Harbor

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File – Adm. John Aquilino, left, relieves Adm. Philip Davidson, right, as commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, April 30, 2021. (U.S. Navy photo / Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Anthony J. Rivera)

HONOLULU (KHON2) — A change of command ceremony was held at Pearl Harbor on Friday, April 30, where Adm. Phillip Davidson turned over command of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) to Adm. John Aquilino.

USINDOPACOM is the largest and oldest combatant command in the U.S.

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Adm. Davidson noted USINDOPACOM’s crucial role in providing regional security and peace in the Indo-Pacific region during his remarks on Friday.

“The strategic competition in the Indo-Pacific is not between two nations, it is a contest between liberty – the fundamental idea behind a Free and Open Indo-Pacific – and authoritarianism, the absence of liberty. The United States has always demonstrated a willingness to stand up for, to defend, and to put our lives on the line in the name of liberty.”

Adm. Phillip Davidson, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command

The admiral also stressed that working with allies and partners to address collective security issues will be a priority while he is in command.

“For more than over 75 years, the U.S. in partnerships with like-minded allies and partners have created an environment where all nations could thrive and prosper,” Adm. Aquilino said. “I am honored and humbled to take on this important position during a most consequential time.”

Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III presided over the ceremony and called Adm. Aquilino, “the right leader at the right time.”

Adm. Aquilino was previously the U.S. Pacific Fleet commander. He will be responsible for leading more than 380,000 soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians, coast guardsmen and Department of Defense civilians as the 26th commander of USINDOPACOM.

USINDOPACOM covers all military activities in the Indo-Pacific, encompassing 36 nations, 14 time zones and over 50% of the global population.

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly attributed a statement to Adm. Aquilino. The error has been corrected.

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