Commanders, U.S. Pacific Command

Commanders in Chief, Pacific

Commander in Chief, Pacific (CINCPAC) also served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet (CINCPACFLT) until 3 July 1956.

Admiral John H. Towers, USN

Admiral John H. Towers, USN

01 Jan. 1947 - 28 Feb. 1947

The first Commander in Chief, Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet was also one of the first naval aviators. Admiral Towers was an early aviation advocate and the Navy's third pilot. In 1912, he rigged extra gas tanks to a Curtiss seaplane to extend its flight capabilities; his resulting six hour flight set the world's endurance record. In 1919, he attempted the first trans-Atlantic flight. Anticipating aircraft carriers, he began training pilots to land in 1921, a year before the first carrier was built. Later he commanded two of the first carriers. Admiral Towers became Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics in 1939 and directed the expansion of naval aviation during World War II. He was chosen to command the Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1947, then appointed Chief of the Navy's General Board. He retired in 1947.

dmiral Louis E. Denfeld, USN

Admiral Louis E. Denfeld, USN

28 Feb. 1947 - 03 Dec. 1947

A 1912 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Denfeld commanded the USS McCall (DD-28) in 1919. He served on submarines and commanded two destroyer divisions before joining the Atlantic Fleet Support Force in 1941. He was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Navigation in 1942, then returned to commanding a battleship division three years later. In 1945, Admiral Denfeld became Chief of the Bureau of Personnel. He was given command of the Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1947, and was appointed Chief of Naval Operations later that same year. He retired in 1950.

Admiral DeWitt C. Ramsey, USN

Admiral DeWitt C. Ramsey, USN

12 Jan. 1948 - 30 Apr. 1949

Born in Arizona in 1888, Admiral Ramsey completed his studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1912. Qualified as a naval aviator, he inspected U.S. Naval Air Stations in France during World War I. He was also a member of the Inter-Allied Armistice Commission. After the war, Admiral Ramsey served in several staff and ship positions, then was appointed Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics in 1941. During World War II, he commanded a carrier in the battles of the Coral Sea and Midway. In 1943, he was appointed Chief of the Bureau of Aeronautics. After serving as Vice Chief of Naval Operations (1946-1948), he commanded the Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet. He retired in 1949.

Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN

Admiral Arthur W. Radford, USN

30 Apr. 1949 - 10 Jul. 1953

A Chicago native, Admiral Radford graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1916. After completing flight training, he served at sea, at naval air stations, and in the Bureau of Aeronautics. He was chosen to head aviation training in 1941, and commanded aircraft carriers during World War II. Admiral Radford served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations (1948) just prior to his appointment as Commander in Chief, Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1949. He was appointed Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1953, where he remained until his retirement in 1957. He continued to advise Presidents on national security matters until 1973.

* Admiral Denfeld became CNO on 15 December 1947. From 3 December 1947 to 12 January 1948 Vice Admiral Hall B. Sallada, USN, served as Acting CINCPAC. He was the deputy CINCPACFLT, but was never designated as CINCPAC / CINCPACFLT.

** Admiral Radford became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) on 15 August 1953.

*** Admiral Stump no longer served as CINCPACFLT per 3 July 1956 Unified Command Plan.

CINCPAC assumed responsibilities of the Far East Command and some of the responsibilities of the Alaskan Command on 1 July 1957. Concurrently, individual Army and Air Force component commands for the Pacific were also established in Hawaii.

Commanders in Chief, Pacific Command (J00)

Admiral Felix B. Stump, USN

Admiral Felix B. Stump, USN

10 Jul. 1953 - 14 Jan. 1958

Admiral Stump received his Naval Academy appointment from his home state of West Virginia. He graduated in 1917 and served at sea during World War I. After the war, he studied aeronautical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Admiral Stump was commanding the carrier USS Langley (CV-1) in Manila Bay. In 1942, he assumed command of the combined air operation center for the Asiatic Fleet. After serving as Chief of Naval Air Technical Training Command (1945-1948), Admiral Stump became Commander in Chief, Pacific and U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1953.

dmiral Harry D. Felt, USN

Admiral Harry D. Felt, USN

31 Jul. 1958 - 30 Jun. 1964

A Kansas native, Admiral Felt graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1923. A naval aviator, he served as Air Group Commander on the USS Saratoga (CV-3) in 1942 and led attacks in the Battle of the Eastern Solomons. He was a member of the U.S. Military Mission to the Soviet Union in 1943, then returned to the Pacific in 1945, commanded the USS Chenango (CVE-28), participated in the Okinawan campaign, and the occupation of Japan. After the war, Admiral Felt attended the Naval War College and ultimately became its Chief of Staff. He commanded carrier divisions and the Sixth Fleet before his appointment as Vice Chief of Naval Operations in 1956. He became Commander in Chief, Pacific Command in 1958 and retired in 1964.

Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp, USN

Admiral Ulysses S. Grant Sharp, USN

30 Jun. 1964 - 31 Jul. 1968

Admiral Sharp was assigned to sea duty after graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1927. In 1943, he assumed command of a destroyer and took part in the first strikes against Okinawa and Formosa. In ensuing years, he served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Plans and Operations, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1954); Director, Strategic Plans Division for the Chief of Naval Operations (1958); and Commander, Cruise-Destroyer Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet (1959). As Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (1960), Admiral Sharp received a Distinguished Service Medal for his work during the Cuban crisis. He was appointed Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet in 1963, and Commander in Chief, Pacific Command the following year. He retired in August 1968.

Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., USN

Admiral John S. McCain, Jr., USN

31 Jul. 1968 - 01 Sep. 1972

Born in Iowa on 17 January 1911, Admiral McCain graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1931. He commanded the USS Gunnell (SS-253) and USS Dentuda (SS-335) during World War II, then served in a variety of positions on land and at sea. These positions included Chief of Naval Information (1962-1963), Commander of Amphibious Forces, Atlantic (1963-1965), Commander, Eastern Sea Frontier (1965-1967), and Commander in Chief, U.S. Forces in Europe (1967-1968). His son, Senator John McCain III, became a prisoner of war in Vietnam during the Admiral’s tenure as leader of the Pacific Command (1968-1972). Admiral McCain retired in 1972.

Admiral Noel A. M. Gayler, USN

Admiral Noel A. M. Gayler, USN

01 Sep. 1972 - 30 Aug. 1976

The son of a naval officer, Admiral Gayler graduated from the Naval Academy in 1935 and completed flight training in 1940. After the Pearl Harbor attack, he served as a fighter pilot aboard the USS Lexington (CV-2) and became the first man in history to receive three Navy Cross Awards. He joined the Navy’s Fighter Test Division in 1942, where he began designing, developing, and testing combat aircraft. He returned to combat in the South Pacific in 1944. In the 1950’s, he helped develop the F-4 "Phantom II." Later, he served as Operations Officer to the Commander in Chief, Pacific Fleet; Naval Aide to the Secretary of the Navy; and Director, National Security Agency, where he received the Distinguished Service Medal. He was appointed Commander in Chief, Pacific Command in 1972.

Admiral Maurice F. Weisner, USN

Admiral Maurice F. Weisner, USN

30 Aug. 1976 - 31 Oct. 1979

After his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Weisner served on the USS Wasp (CV-7). He received his naval aviator designation in 1943 and served in combat in WWII (Pacific Southwest area) and the Korean War. After commanding fighter squadrons in the 1950’s, he headed the Air Striking Forces Unit until 1958. Admiral Weisner assumed command of carriers after completing studies at the National War College. He held many positions in the 1960’s and 1970’s, including Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Air Warfare; and Vice Chief of Naval Operations. He was appointed Commander in Chief, Pacific Command in 1976.

Admiral Robert L. J. Long, USN

Admiral Robert L. J. Long, USN

31 Oct. 1979 - 01 Jul. 1983

Admiral Long completed accelerated studies at the U.S. Naval Academy in 1943 and was assigned to the USS Colorado (BB-45), where he earned a Bronze Star Medal for his service in the Philippines and Ryukyu Islands. He attended Submarine School after the war, and was appointed Executive Officer of the USS Cutlass (SS-478) in 1949. After attending the Naval War College, Long headed the Submarine Weapons Readiness Section, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. He worked for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, then assumed command of submarines and service groups. Subsequent assignments included Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Atlantic Fleet; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, Submarine Warfare; and Vice Chief of Naval Operations. In 1979, he was named Commander in Chief, Pacific Command.

Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., USN

Admiral William J. Crowe, Jr., USN

01 Jul. 1983 - 18 Sep. 1985

Admiral Crowe, U.S. Naval Academy class of 1947, also earned a Master's degree from Stanford and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His submarine service included command of USS Trout (SS-566) and Submarine Division Thirty-One. From 1954-1955, he was Assistant to the Naval Aide to President Eisenhower. After promotion to flag rank in 1974, he served as Director, East Asia and Pacific Region, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense; Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Plans, Policy, and Operations); and as Senior Military Representative to the United Nations. He was Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe prior to assignment as Commander in Chief, Pacific Command in July 1983.

The title of Commander in Chief, "Pacific Command" was subsequently changed to "U.S Pacific Command."

Commanders in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command (J00)

Admiral Ronald J. Hays, USN

Admiral Ronald J. Hays, USN

18 Sep. 1985 - 30 Sep. 1988

Louisiana native Admiral Hays graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1950 and was designated a naval aviator in 1952. He served in a number of operational assignments, including test pilot, before entering the Naval War College. During the Vietnam conflict, he commanded Attack Squadron Eighty-Five embarked on the USS Kitty Hawk (CVA-63). After promotion to Rear Admiral in 1972, he served as Director of the General Planning and Programming Division, Office of the Chief of Naval Operations then commanded Carrier Group Four. Six years later, he was promoted to Vice Admiral and became the Deputy Commander and Chief of Staff, U.S. Atlantic Command and U.S. Atlantic Fleet. He next served as Commander in Chief, U.S. Naval Forces Europe. Admiral Hays was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations when he was selected to command the U.S. Pacific Command.

Admiral Huntington Hardisty, USN

Admiral Huntington Hardisty, USN

30 Sep. 1988 - 01 Mar. 1991

Harvard graduate Admiral Hardisty received a Master’s degree in international relations in 1964 after completing the U.S. Naval Academy in 1952. He worked as a naval aviator, test pilot, and fighter squadron commander before becoming Special Plans and Air Operations Officer for Southeast Asia in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations, and Executive Assistant to the Director, Navy Program Planning. Admiral Hardisty also commanded USS Oriskany (CVA-34), Carrier Groups Seven and Five, and the U.S. Facility, Subic Bay. Subsequent assignments included Dean of Academics at the Naval War College; acting Naval War College President; the Director for Operations, Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Deputy and Chief of Staff, U.S. Pacific Fleet. Immediately preceding assignment at the U.S. Pacific Command, he was the Vice Chief of Naval Operations.

Admiral Charles R. Larson, USN

Admiral Charles R. Larson, USN

01 Mar. 1991 - 11 Jul. 1994

A 1958 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Admiral Larson served three consecutive tours on nuclear submarines. He was selected as a White House Fellow in 1968, the first naval officer to receive this distinction. From 1969 to 1971, he was Naval Aide to President Richard Nixon. After returning to the submarine force, he was given command of an attack submarine, then placed in charge of the Navy’s worldwide deep submergence program. Admiral Larson also served as Commander, Submarine Group Eight; Superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy; and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations. He received his fourth star in February 1990 and was assigned command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. One year later, Admiral Larson became Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Command.

Admiral Richard C. Macke, USN

Admiral Richard C. Macke, USN

19 Jul. 1994 - 31 Jan. 1996

After graduating from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1960, Admiral Macke received his naval aviator designation and began testing the A-7A aircraft. He flew more than 150 combat missions in Southeast Asia in the late 1960’s before returning to college for a Master’s degree in Operations Research and Systems Analysis from the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. Admiral Macke served as Executive Officer of the USS Nimitz (CVN-68) and Commander of the USS Camden (AOE-2) and the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN-69). As Commander of the Naval Space Command, he led initiatives to enhance space support to tactical warriors. He became Director, Joint Staff in 1992 and assumed command of the U.S. Pacific Command in 1994.

Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, USN

Admiral Joseph W. Prueher, USN

31 Jan. 1996 - 20 Feb. 1999

Prior to heading the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Prueher served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations and commanded the Sixth Fleet and NATO’s Naval Striking and Support Forces in southern Europe. He commanded a carrier group in the U.S. Pacific Fleet, as well as two Carrier Air Wings. Admiral Prueher served in four attack squadrons and, in 1984, was assigned to start and command the Naval Strike Warfare Center in Fallon, Nevada. Other assignments included Executive Assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and Aide to the Chief, Naval Material Command. In addition he worked on strategic warfare issues and budget priorities for the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Command. In his early career, Admiral Prueher served as a test pilot and flight instructor.

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN

Admiral Dennis C. Blair, USN

20 Feb. 1999 - 02 May 2002

Admiral Blair served as Director, Joint Staff, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff before assuming his duties for the U.S. Pacific Command in 1999. He was also Associate Director of Central Intelligence for Military Support, and commanded a cruiser destroyer group in the U.S. Pacific Fleet. In the 1980’s, he served as Commanding Officer of Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii and commanded the USS Cochrane (DDG-21) in Yokosuka, Japan. In addition, Admiral Blair served on the staffs of the National Security Council, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of the Navy, and Chief of Naval Operations. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s degree from Oxford University, where he is a Rhodes Scholar.

* Admiral Crowe became CJCS on 1 Oct 1985.

** Lieutenant General Harold T. Fields, USA served in the capacity of CINC between ADM Larson's departure and Senate confirmation of ADM Macke as the next CINCPAC.

*** Admiral Blair served as Director of National Intelligence from 29 January 2009 - 28 May 2010.

**** On 24 October 2002 Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense (SECDEF) issued a memorandum declaring that the title "Commander in Chief" shall be used only to connote or indicate the President of the United States of America. Effective that date, commanders of all the unified commands deleted "in Chief" from their titles.

Commanders, U.S. Pacific Command (J00)

Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN

Admiral Thomas B. Fargo, USN

02 May 2002 - 26 Feb. 2005

Before his appointment to the U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Fargo served as U.S. Pacific Fleet Commander. Since his selection to flag rank in 1994, he has been Director of Operations, U.S. Atlantic Command; Director, Assessment Division for the Chief of Naval Operations; and Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations. His sea duty assignments included command of attack and ballistic missile submarines, submarine groups and task forces. Admiral Fargo also commanded the U.S. Fifth Fleet and Naval Forces of the Central Command in Iraq from 1996 to 1998. A 1970 Naval Academy graduate, he has been awarded four Distinguished Service Medals, the Defense Superior Service Medal, three Legion of Merit awards and the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership.

Admiral William J. Fallon, USN

Admiral William J. Fallon, USN

26 Feb. 2005 - 12 Mar. 2007

A native of New Jersey, Admiral Fallon is a 1967 NROTC graduate of Villanova University. Prior to his appointment to U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Fallon headed U.S. Fleet Forces Command and the U.S. Atlantic Fleet and served as Vice Chief of Naval Operations from 2000 to 2003. He previously commanded U.S. Second Fleet and the NATO Striking Fleet from 1997 to 2000, following assignment as Deputy Commander, U.S. Atlantic Command. Admiral Fallon, a Naval Flight Officer, served in carrier aviation units during the Vietnam War, the 1970’s and 1980’s, and commanded an attack squadron. He commanded Carrier Air Wing Eight during the 1991 Arabian Gulf War, and Carrier Group Eight/Task Force 60 in the Mediterranean during NATO combat operations in the Balkans in 1995. In addition to his operational duties, Admiral Fallon served in staff assignments in Washington, Norfolk, Jacksonville, and with NATO.

Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN

Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN

26 Mar. 2007 - 19 Oct. 2009

A native of Dayton, Ohio, Admiral Keating is a 1971 United States Naval Academy graduate. Before his appointment to U.S. Pacific Command, Admiral Keating served as the first Navy Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command. Since his selection to Flag Rank in 1997, he has been the Director of the Joint Staff, Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy, and Operations, and Commander, Carrier Group Five. Additionally, Admiral Keating commanded U.S. Naval Forces Central Command and U.S. Fifth Fleet for Operation ENDURING FREEDOM and IRAQI FREEDOM. Admiral Keating has also served as a Chief of Naval Operations Fellow with the Strategic Studies Group. He commanded an FA-18 Squadron, a Carrier Air Wing, and the Naval Strike Warfare Center. A naval aviator, Admiral Keating has accumulated over 5,000 flight hours and 1200 arrested landings.

Admiral Timothy J. Keating, USN

Admiral Robert F. Willard, USN

19 Oct. 2009 - 9 Mar. 2012

A Los Angeles native and a 1973 graduate of the United States Naval Academy. Served in a variety of west coast fighter squadrons. Willard twice served on the Joint Staff, was deputy and chief of staff for U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, commanded Carrier Group Five aboard USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63) and commanded the U.S. 7th Fleet in Yokosuka, Japan. In March 2005, Willard became the 34th vice chief of naval operations; in May 2007, he assumed command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet; and on October 19, 2009, he began his final assignment as the commander, U.S. Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.