Rear Adm. John B. Nowell turns over command of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet to Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton. (U.S. Navy/MC3 William Sykes)

SASEBO, Japan - Rear Adm. Marc H. Dalton assumed command of Amphibious Force 7th Fleet from Rear Adm. John B. Nowell Jr. during a change of command ceremony aboard USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6) Aug. 3.

During the ceremony Nowell highlighted the outstanding work Expeditionary Strike Group 7 Sailors and Marines have achieved during his tenure, most recently their professionalism and partnership during relief efforts with Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) counterparts after a devastating earthquake in Kumamoto, Japan. He noted as well the multiple exercises with partners and allies to include SSang Yong 16 with the Republic of Korea.

“The flexibility, willingness, and readiness to answer the call is what sticks out to me the most about the exceptional men and women who serve as part of our Amphibious Force,” said Nowell. “I couldn’t be more proud to have served with them at the tip of the spear in such a critical region. Their efforts truly have had a lasting impact.”

Nowell leaves Amphibious Force 7th Fleet to report as Director, Military Personnel, Plans and Policy Division, OPNAV N13 at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., where he has been selected to the rank of Rear Admiral (Upper-Half).

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, served as the guest speaker and presented Nowell with his sixth Legion of Merit, recognizing him for his leadership and exceptional meritorious service in his role as Amphibious Force 7th Fleet commander. Nowell also received an award from the JMSDF, presented by JMSDF Rear Adm. Hideki Yuasa, commander, Mine Warfare Force, which acknowledged his work in fostering U.S.-Japan cooperation and interoperability, specifically recognizing his support in developing Japan’s amphibious capabilities.

Dalton, who served as Deputy Director of Plans, Policy and Strategy at U.S. European Command said he is honored to lead the amphibious forces of the U.S. 7th Fleet.

"I’m looking forward to operating forward with our Sailors, Marines, allies and partners,” said Dalton. “Admiral Nowell and this staff have made great progress and should be justifiably proud. I’m excited to be taking command of such a high performing team in support of our mutual goals in the region.”

Commander, Amphibious Force U.S. 7th Fleet, is the Navy's only forward-deployed amphibious force, headquartered at White Beach Naval Facility, Okinawa with detachments in Sasebo, Japan, Guam, and Pohang, Korea.