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U.S. Naval Forces Japan welcomes new commander

10 July 2019

From MC2 Zhiwei Tan, CNFJ Public Affairs

Rear Adm. Brian Fort became the 35th Naval Forces Japan commander, relieving Rear Adm. Gregory Fenton during a ceremony in Yokosuka, July 10.

YOKOSUKA, Japan - U.S. Naval Forces and Navy Region Japan held a change of command ceremony July 10 at the Fleet Activities Yokosuka Benny Decker Theater.

Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort became the 35th commander of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ), and he also serves as Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNRJ), after relieving Rear Adm. Gregory J. Fenton.

During his farewell speech, Fenton expressed his appreciation and thanks to the men and women who make up the CNFJ/CNRJ team.

“My staff of military, civilian and Master Labor Contract personnel at Naval Forces Japan and Navy region Japan continue to do the amazing work that ultimately support our forward-deployed naval forces,” said Fenton. “Brian, you will have the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of professionals that will provide you with sage advice.”

Fenton recalled the help and support he received following the USS Fitzgerald collision and praised the quick responses of Navy personnel, the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force and the Japan Coast Guard. He stated that the Navy selected a great new commander for CNFJ/CNRJ due to his previous experiences.

Adm. John Aquilino, commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet, was the distinguished guest and praised Fenton and the CNFJ/CNRJ team for their work over the past two years.

“On behalf of our Pacific Fleet Sailors and their families, I’d like to thank you for all you have done for the waterfront, and for your tremendous service to the Navy,” said Aquilino.

Fenton plans to retire after a 33-year career in the U.S. Navy, seven and a half of which was spent in Japan.

Fort previously served as commander, Navy Region Hawaii and Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. He served as the U.S. Naval and Exchange officer to the Royal Navy at the Britannia Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, England. He also commanded the Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa, USS Gonzalez (DDG 66) and Destroyer Squadron 26, serving as the sea combat commander for the Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group.

Aquilino welcomed Fort and his family to Japan saying he is the right man for the job. “Congratulations, I look forward to your leadership and working with you in the months and years to come.”

While this is the first time Fort has served in Japan, he expressed his excitement to embrace all that Japan has to offer.

“We are very proud and very honored to call Japan our home away from home,” said Fort. “This is the first time we have served in Japan. We have much to learn in the way of Japanese culture and tradition, but we are very excited to learn and we promise to be very good students.”

Commander, Navy Region Japan’s primary responsibility is to provide shore readiness to the Fleet, and U.S. Naval Forces Japan supports the U.S. forward presence in Japan and pursue bilateral defense cooperation with the Government of Japan to promote regional stability and deter aggression.

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