U.S. President Donald Trump has nominated Vice Admiral John Aquilino for the rank of four-star admiral and the commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, Secretary of Defense James Mattis announced Friday.
The U.S. Senate will vote on the nomination. If approved, the current head of the U.S. naval forces in the Middle East is set to replace outgoing U.S. Pacific Fleet commander Admiral Scott Swift.
Swift announced his decision to retire in September following separate collisions involving two Pacific Fleet ships near Japan and Singapore last year that killed 17 sailors. The U.S. Navy fired several top leaders including the 7th Fleet commander.
The Pacific Fleet staff reports administratively to the chief of naval operations and operationally to the U.S. Pacific Command. Prior to commanding the 5th Fleet, Aquilino was the deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy.
Aquilino assumed his most recent job also in September as the commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and commander of the 5th Fleet and Maritime Forces Bahrain, said a Pentagon statement.
After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984, he entered flight training and earned his wings in August 1986. His fleet assignments included the Ghostriders of Fighter Squadron 142 and the Black Aces of Fighter Squadron 41, said the statement.
As the world's largest fleet command, the U.S. Pacific Fleet consists of about 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians, according to a report from the Stars and Stripes military news website.