Rear Adm. John Menoni is piped aboard during the Joint Region Marianas change of command ceremony, July 23. (U.S. Navy/MC3 Kane Weissman)

ASAN, Guam - Returning to Guam for his third tour of duty on island, Rear Adm. John Menoni assumed command of Joint Region Marianas from Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield during a change of command ceremony at the Guam High School gymnasium aboard U.S. Naval Hospital Guam in Agana Heights, July 23.

Menoni also assumed the roles as Senior Military Official for Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia and Republic of Palau; commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas; and commander, Task Force West.

Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command, was the keynote speaker and praised Chatfield for her accomplishments.

“The charge of command is foundational to our military success and I am unequivocally confident that the Joint Region has been and continues to be in good hands,” she said. “As I look back at Sho’s tenure as commander, I can say with confidence that Sho has successfully surpassed the requirements of her many demanding duties while embracing all that make Guam and the Marianas unique and special.”

Following her remarks, Jackson presented Chatfield with the Defense Superior Service Medal for her superb services in Micronesia Jan. 2017-July 2019.

During her time on island, Chatfield successfully managed critical efforts in providing critical installation support 35 Navy commands in four geographically separate sites, as well as logistics to operational units of the 5th and 7th Fleets. She also guided JRM through multiple joint and multinational exercises and events enhancing interoperability between allied nations. Additionally her leadership was vital to the recovery of Guam and the CNMI after Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu ripped through the region in 2018.

“We have the most advanced fighting force in the world,” Chatfield said. “But even the most advanced weapons and equipment are useless without highly trained men and women to operate them. Today, our nation’s fighting force is stronger and our national defense more complete because of patriotism and high enlistment rates from our fellow Americans from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Chatfield thanked members from the government of Guam, CNMI, FSM and Palau, and the local communities for their partnership and expressed her gratitude to her staff for their support during her tour.

“The partnership that the communities of Guam and the CNMI share with DoD, and the political relationship that FSM, RMI, and Palau have with the U.S. is powerful because it comes with security guarantees,” she said. “Those guarantees are a free and open Indo-Pacific, regional stability and a commitment to open and transparent dialogue. The spirit of Micronesia is beautiful, and I am humbled to have been a part of it.”

Chatfield will report to the U.S. Naval War College as its first female president.

Menoni reports to JRM after serving as executive assistant for the director of integration of capabilities and resources (OPNAV N8). He attended the 75th Guam Liberation Day parade and reflected on the sacrifices made decades ago.

“In 1944, thousands of service members fought and died for this island, for this region,” he said. “You have my commitment that today we remain prepared to maintain regional security and stability, and provide the world’s strongest defense against any adversaries who wish to do harm to these islands and our nation.”

Menoni first arrived in Guam as part of Operation Fiery Vigil following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991. From 1995-1998, he was part of the now disestablished Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 5; and from 2006-2008, he was the commanding officer of Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron (HSC) 25.

“To all the shipmates, and I include our Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and civilians as shipmates, who work tirelessly towards mission success, I look forward to working with you, listening and learning from you,” he said. “To our allies and partners, I look forward to our continued friendship and collaboration that will benefit all our nations from here and for generations to come. Thank you for welcoming me back, I look forward to giving you my very best.”

In this file photo, Rear Adm. Shoshane Chatfield prepares to speak during a June 15 wreath laying ceremony at the American Memorial Park in Saipan commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Saipan. (U.S. Marine Corps /Lance Cpl. Madeline Jones)