POSTED: 5:05 p.m. HST, Jan 11, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 12:46 a.m. HST, Jan 12, 2012
Adm. Patrick Walsh, head of U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, will be retiring following a 34-year Navy career and after he passes the command to Adm. Cecil D. Haney, officials said.
Haney, former deputy commander of U.S. Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., will take over U.S. Pacific Fleet in a change-of-command ceremony at 10 a.m. Jan. 20 at Pearl Harbor's Kilo Pier.
The Navy said Walsh, who has guided the Pacific Fleet for more than two years, led all U.S. military relief efforts following the March 11 earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear crisis in Japan.
Walsh became commander of the Pacific Fleet on Sept. 25, 2009.
Haney will become the 33rd Navy officer to command the Pacific Fleet since it was established in February 1941 with headquarters at Pearl Harbor, the Navy said.
Past commanders have included naval giants Fleet Adm. Chester Nimitz and Adm. Raymond Spruance.
The U.S. Pacific Fleet encompasses 100 million square miles, more than half the earth's surface, from the West Coast of the United States into the Indian Ocean. The fleet has about 180 ships, nearly 2,000 aircraft and 125,000 sailors, Marines and civilians.