The head of U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor said today he has submitted a request to retire after being passed over for the position of commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
Adm. Scott Swift, with more than two years experience in the region at a time of extreme tension with North Korea and with several ship collisions involving overworked sailors and assets, was seen as a leading candidate for the Pacific Command job at Camp H.M. Smith now held by Adm. Harry Harris.
Both admirals are highly respected; Harris is expected to step down in the spring.
“I have been informed by the Chief of Naval Operations that I will not be his nominee to replace Adm. Harris as the Commander, U.S. Pacific Command,” Swift said in a release. “In keeping with tradition and in loyalty to the Navy, I have submitted my request to retire. I do so with great appreciation and gratitude for the honor of having served so many sailors and their families for what will be 40 years in January.”
Swift added: “Submitting this request now is done with an abundance of respect and admiration for the CNO and his leadership, as well as for the chairman (of the Joint Chiefs of Staff) and secretary of defense as both of them face the challenge of selecting someone to step into the leadership role Adm. Harris has filled with such distinction over the last three years.”
Swift said he has not requested a retirement date “as there is much work to be done here in the Pacific area of responsibility.”
“Whether my timeline of remaining service is six weeks or six months, I will fill that time with the energy of an ensign and the wisdom drawn from the 140,000 sailors who report for duty every morning in the Pacific Fleet,” Swift said.
On May 27, 2015, Swift returned to his home state and relieved Harris as commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet during a change of command ceremony on Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Swift was born in Hawaii when his father was stationed at Pearl Harbor. Harris said at the ceremony that Swift’s Pacific ties made him the perfect officer to replace him.
“There’s no person more suited to be the Pacific Fleet commander than Adm. Swift — former J3 (operations) at PACOM, former 7th Fleet commander, and most recently the director of Navy staff,” Harris said at the time.
At the same change of command ceremony, Harris relieved Adm. Samuel J. Locklear III as commander of U.S. Pacific Command.