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NEWS | May 3, 2024

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Holds Change of Command Ceremony

U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Public Affairs

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – Adm. Samuel J. Paparo assumed command of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command from Adm. John C. Aquilino during a change of command ceremony May 3, 2024. 
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III presided over the event onboard Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Charles Q. Brown, Jr., heads of state, chiefs of defense, and other dignitaries in attendance.
“This command’s mission is at the heart of American security in the 21st century. Every day, Indo-Pacific Command keeps the watch in our priority theater of operations,” Austin said in opening remarks. “And together, with our unmatched network of Allies and partners, you’re advancing our shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific."
Aquilino, a native of Huntington, NY, graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1986. He assumed command as the 26th Commander of USINDOPACOM in 2021.
“This command has stepped up under the extraordinary leadership of Adm. Aquilino, helped transform our posture, strengthened our readiness, deepened our alliances and partnerships,” said Austin. “All of that has bolstered our deterrence.”
As commander, Aquilino was charged with leading more than 380,000 Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Guardians, Coast Guardsmen and Department of Defense Civilians, and maintained responsibility for all U.S. military activities in the Indo-Pacific, covering 38 nations, 14 time zones and more than 50 percent of the world’s population.
Aquilino expressed gratitude to the service members at the forefront of defending stability and security throughout the region. He also recognized the crucial role Allies and partners have played in maintaining a free and open Indo-Pacific.
“Mr. Secretary, I’m thankful that you, the President, and Congress have entrusted me to this amazing position. When I assumed command three years ago, I said I’d give you my full and unwavering commitment to take on this great responsibility and do my best to meet it,” Aquilino said. “I hope you believe I’ve met that mark.”
“[This command is] the best of the best, in the most crucial theater, against the most challenging threat. They understand the theater, they understand the people, they understand the cultures, and they are the right people at the right time,” Aquilino said. “Pappy, they will serve you well.”
Paparo takes charge as the 27th Commander of USINDOPACOM, following his command of U.S. Pacific Fleet, from 2021 to 2024.
Paparo, a native of Morton, Pennsylvania, and graduate of Villanova University, brings decades of leadership experience and regional knowledge to the role. 
His previous commands include Carrier Strike Group 10, George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group, Carrier Air Wing 7, and Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 195. Ashore, Paparo held various fleet and joint positions, including Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command/U.S. 5th Fleet/Combined Maritime Forces.
A distinguished U.S. Naval Aviator and TOPGUN graduate, Paparo has logged over 6,000 flight hours and executed 1,100 carrier landings.
During the ceremony, Paparo reflected on the pivotal role of USINDOPACOM in regional peace and security and reaffirmed his commitment to the region and to strengthening alliances with our Allies and partners.
“The [USINDOPACOM] team is uniquely ready to shape the current strategic environment to our nation and our Allies and partners’ advantage. We must act now with a sense of urgency,” Paparo said. “We set out on this path with the effort to regain the advantage under Adm. Davidson, we built on that progress together in which we seized the initiative under ‘Lung’ Aquilino, and now onward to prevail. May God bless America and let's get to work.”
USINDOPACOM, in concert with other U.S. government agencies, protects and defends the territory of the U.S., its people and its interests. With Allies and partners, USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression, and, when necessary, fighting to win. This approach is based on partnership, presence and military readiness.




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