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Captain promoted to rear admiral to head two Navy commands

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Navy Capt. Fernandez “Frank” Ponds has been selected for promotion to the rank of rear admiral (lower half) and assignment as the next commander of Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, the Navy said.

Ponds, currently deputy director of Navy Special Projects for the Chief of Naval Operations, will replace Rear Adm. Dixon Smith, who has held the Pearl Harbor job since October of 2008. Smith was named to take over Navy Region Southwest in San Diego.

Ponds is a native of Alabama. He earned a bachelor of science degree from the University of Alabama in 1982 and received his commission from Officer Candidate School in June 1983, the Navy said.

He commanded USS Fife, a destroyer, from October 2001 to February 2003. Additional sea billets included: damage control assistant and assistant first lieutenant aboard USS Mauna Kea; boilers material officer aboard USS Midway; engineering officer aboard USS Berkeley; flag secretary for Amphibious Group ONE in Okinawa, Japan; executive officer aboard USS Paul F. Foster, and commander of the Kearsarge Strike Group.

His shore assignments included inspector in the Office of the Naval Inspector General, and senior Naval adviser in the Bureau of Political Military Affairs, Department of State.

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