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YOKOSUKA, Japan - Task Force 70, responsible for the operations of aircraft carriers, cruisers, destroyers and frigates in the U.S. Navy's Seventh Fleet, conducted a change of command ceremony Jan. 23 aboard USS George Washington (CVN 73) in Yokosuka, Japan.
Rear Adm. Mark C. Montgomery relieved Rear Adm. J. R. Haley to become Task Force Seven Zero's 71st Commander.
"I will miss the gracious culture of our host nation, the camaraderie of the close knit community and the opportunity I have had to serve with the Sailors of 7th Fleet," said Haley.
During his command, Haley completed countless theater engagement evolutions, maintenance requirements, humanitarian assistance missions and other naval operations. He planned, developed and executed complex deployment plans for multiple carrier strike groups including George Washington, Nimitz, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, and Stennis. As leader of Task Force 70, Haley conducted plans and programs that directly supported US maritime strategy and contributed to enhanced interoperability in support of the numerous allies in the 7th Fleet area of operation.
"I am leaving great shipmates in good hands," said Haley. "I know that you [Montgomery] are immensely qualified. You will take the team to new heights. Good luck."
Guest speaker Vice Adm. Scott Swift, US Seventh Fleet commander, addressed those in attendance during the ceremony, commending Haley on his accomplishments throughout his command of Task Force Seven Zero.
"J.R. Haley has been at the fore-front of our strategy, ensuring we continue to effectively and efficiently contribute to the security and stability of the Asian-Pacific region," said Swift.
During Montgomery's career, he served as executive officer aboard the USS Elliot (DD 967), as the first commanding officer of USS McCampbell (DDG 85), and as Commander, Destroyer Squadron 15 and Task Group 75. His most recent assignment was Deputy Director, Plans, Policy and Strategy, United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
"I am very honored to be here today and very excited to return to Japan and renew my, and my families, friendships and partnerships with our friends here in Japan," said Montgomery. "I am finding myself in the most exciting assignment a one or two star flag officer can have in our Navy, and I am looking forward to having the opportunity, over the next two years, to lead these Sailors."
The George Washington Carrier Strike Group is the US Navy's only continuously forward deployed carrier strike group forward deployed to Yokosuka, Japan.