NEWS | July 14, 2021

Naval Forces Japan, Navy Region Japan Holds Change of Command

By Commander, Naval Forces Japan

YOKOSUKA, Japan – U.S. Naval Forces and Navy Region Japan held a change of command ceremony on July 14.

Rear Adm. Brian P. Fort was relieved by Rear Adm. Carl Lahti, who became the 36th commander of Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan (CNFJ) and Commander, Navy Region Japan (CNFJ).

The ceremony was presided by Lt. Gen. Schneider, Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, and included taiko drums performance and music by the 7th Fleet band.

Fort retired after a 32-year career in the U.S. Navy, which included serving as commanding officer of the USS Gonzalez (DDG 66), and as commander, Destroyer Squadron 26. Fort commanded Navy Nuclear Power Training Unit, Ballston Spa, and served as Commander, Navy Region Hawaii/Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific.

During his time as CNFJ, Fort oversaw the Navy's response to the challenges of COVID-19 and established policies to keep Sailors, dependents, and the workforce safe and mission-ready. In addition to setting the conditions to deploy ships COVID-free, CNFJ/CNRJ worked closely with medical authorities in vaccine distribution throughout seven installations. The result led to the highest vaccine take rate in the Navy, and approval for the U.S. Navy to vaccinate the Japanese workforce, as well as minor dependent children aged 12 to 17.

Fort expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the CNFJ/CNRJ team in his farewell speech.

“I can think of no other place my wife Kelli and I would rather be these past two years, than right here with you in Japan,” said Fort. “Serving with this team of amazing Sailors, U.S. civilians, and the Japanese workforce has been an absolute privilege.”

Lahti’s last assignment was as 91st Commandant, Naval District Washington. He previously served as commanding officer, Naval Submarine Base New London; as Chief of Staff at Navy Installations Command; and Director, Energy, and Environmental Readiness Division.

“The work that is being done out here, and the relationships you have maintained with a key ally are essential to maintaining the health and readiness of the force in a dynamic region,” said Lahti. “My family and I are thrilled to be here in this beautiful country, and I look forward to working with the team.”

CNFJ/CNRJ’s primary responsibility is to provide shore readiness to the Fleet, to liaison with the Japanese government, and strengthen ties with the Japan Self Defense Forces. CNRJ is responsible for the Navy installations in Atsugi, Misawa, Okinawa, Sasebo, Yokosuka, Diego Garcia, and Singapore.