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New leader set to take over Navy Region Hawaii

  • COURTESY U.S. NAVY
    Rear Adm. Richard L. Williams, commander Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, took a break following a change of command rehearsal today.
  • COURTESY U.S. NAVY
    Rear Adm. Frank Ponds, commander Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, and Rear Adm. Richard L. Williams Jr. took a break following their change of command rehearsal today.
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Rear Adm. Richard L. Williams Jr. will assume command Wednesday of Navy Region Hawaii, which oversees the U.S. Navy’s largest and most strategic island base in the Pacific.

He will replace Rear Adm. Fernandez "Frank" Ponds, who has been commander of the Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific since November 2011.

The change of command will begin at 9 a.m. on the Battleship Missouri Memorial at Ford Island.

As commander of Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific, Williams will be in charge of 11 combat vessels homeported in Pearl Harbor. He also will oversee the Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai.

Williams comes to Hawaii after serving as branch head of assessments of the U.S. Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Va.

Ponds will become commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3 in San Diego.

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