SAN DIEGO (April 21, 2011) Side boys honor the arrival of the official party during the U.S. 3rd. Fleet change of command ceremony. Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman, relieved Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt during the ceremony aboard aamphibious assault ship USS Makin Island (LHD 8). (U.S. Navy photo)

SAN DIEGO - Vice Adm. Gerald R. Beaman relieved Vice Adm. Richard W. Hunt as commander of U.S. Third Fleet during a change of command ceremony held on board USS Makin Island (LHD 8) April 21.

“I have had a great tour as Commander, U.S. Third Fleet and it is directly due to the selfless support each of you has provided in or out of uniform,” said Hunt while addressing members of the staff and guests of the ceremony.

Vice Adm. Hunt assumed command of Third Fleet in June of 2009. During his tour he directed the successful completion of many deployments, exercises and humanitarian missions; such as Operation Tomodachi, RIMPAC 2010, Terminal Fury, and Talisman Saber.

“I feel truly blessed and am humbly honored to have led the best fleet in the United States Navy,” said Hunt.

Hunt will assume command of Naval Surface Forces (COMNAVSURFOR) and Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (COMNAVSURFPAC).

Third Fleet was originally formed during World War II March 15, 1943 under the command of Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey. He opened his headquarters ashore in Pearl Harbor, territory of Hawaii, June 15, 1944. The fleet operated in and around the Solomon Islands, the Philippines, Formosa, Okinawa and the Ryukyu Islands. It also operated in Japanese waters launching attacks on Tokyo, the naval base at Kure and the island of Hokkaido.

On Nov 26, 1986, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from his headquarters ashore to resume status as an afloat commander for the first time since World War II, aboard USS Coronado (AGF 11). In August 1991, Third Fleet’s commander, his staff and the command ship, USS Coronado, shifted homeports to San Diego. In September 2003, Commander, Third Fleet shifted his flag from the command ship USS Coronado (AGF 11) to headquarters ashore at Point Loma, San Diego.

“I cannot tell you how honored I am to be given this chance to become the twenty sixth commander of the United States Third Fleet,” said Beaman. “When I look at the names that have commanded before me, most notably, Admiral William F. “Bull” Halsey, I fully realize the magnitude of importance and the magnificent opportunity that command of the U.S. Third Fleet presents.”

Beaman graduated from Marquette University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and was commissioned through the NROTC Program in 1974. His previous tours as a flag officer include: Naval Network and Space operations Command in Dahlgren, Va, commander of Strike Force Training Pacific, deputy chief of staff operations, Allied Joint Forces Command-Naples. He is reporting from U.S. Fleet Forces Command as deputy chief of staff Global Force Management, Joint Operations and Fleet/Joint Training (N3/N5/N7).

“There is no better feeling in the world than to awake knowing that you are one of thousands of Sailors who wake up each morning trying to make a difference, to make our Navy a better place, and I intend to do just that as Commander, Third Fleet,” said Beaman.

Commander, U.S. Third Fleet provides Maritime Security throughout the Third Fleet area of operations while developing and operating a worldwide deployable combat-ready naval force that is capable of deterring aggression and prepared to fight and win against any adversary while maintaining and improving Maritime Domain Awareness by building relationships, sustaining/ implementing an exchange of communication and information with U.S. Armed Forces, U.S. government agencies, and partner nations.