Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin, right, prospective commander of U.S. 7th Fleet; Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet; and Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, salute the colors during the U.S. 7th Fleet change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joshua Karsten)

YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. 7th Fleet held a change of command ceremony Sept. 7 at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Fleet Theater.

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin assumed command of the world’s largest forward-deployed naval force from Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas.

As he thanked the many entities that contributed to his tour, Thomas asked “that this momentum we’ve built… we just keep that going with Adm. Aucoin.”

Aucoin, a graduate of North Carolina State University, became the 50th commander of 7th Fleet, following a tour as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Warfare Systems.

“I can’t describe how honored I am to be back in 7th Fleet, this is a storied command,” said Aucoin. “7th Fleet is the jewel of our Navy.”

Thomas has been relieved of his duties as 7th Fleet commander for his new assignment as Director of Navy Staff for the Chief of Naval Operations.

Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the distinguished guest and delivered remarks describing the wide range of capabilities present in the 7th Fleet.

“Seventh Fleet demonstrates the value of these capabilities every day, forward deployed to Japan, operating where it matters, when it matters, with what matters in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans,” said Swift.

“Seventh Fleet has been and continues to be the leading edge of the Pacific Fleet in Asia.”

The U.S. 7th Fleet conducts forward-deployed naval operations in support of U.S. national interests in the Indo-Asia-Pacific area of operations. As the U.S. Navy's largest numbered fleet, 7th Fleet interacts with 35 other maritime nations to build maritime partnerships that foster maritime security, promote stability and prevent conflict.

Vice Adm. Joseph P. Aucoin delivers remarks during the change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joshua Karsten)
Adm. Scott H. Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, congratulates Vice Adm. Robert L. Thomas during U.S. 7th Fleet's change of command ceremony. (U.S. Navy/MC1 Joshua Karsten)