The U.S. Marines are getting a new commander in the Pacific.
Lt. Gen. David Berger is scheduled to take over at Marine Corps Forces Pacific today. He succeeds Lt. Gen. John Toolan, who is retiring.
Berger is replacing Lt. Gen. John A. Toolan, who assumed leadership of Marine Forces Pacific in August 2014.
Pacific Forum CSIS Executive Director Brad Glosserman says Berger will have to ensure his new command’s warfighting capabilities remain sharp amid tensions on the Korean peninsula, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.
From Camp Smith, the commanding general of Marine Forces Pacific is the largest field command in the U.S. Marine Corps, extending from California to Japan and Okinawa. There are approximately 86,000 Marines and sailors under his command.
Berger was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1981 following graduation from Tulane University.
He has served as platoon commander in 1st Marine Division, and later as company commander and Battalion Operations Officer in the 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion during Operation Desert Storm.
Berger commanded the 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines from 2002 to 2004, deploying to Haiti in support of Operation Secure Tomorrow.
As a colonel, Berger commanded Regimental Combat Team 8 in Fallujah, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In 2012, he deployed to Afghanistan as the commanding general of 1st Marine Division.
Berger served as commanding general of Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center from 2013 to 2014.
Berger holds a Master of International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an M.S. in Military Studies.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.