22 September 2014

Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. to become Commander, U.S. Pacific Command

Harris tapped to lead PACOM,” Navy Times, 22 September 2014.

Adm. Harry Harris is the president’s pick for the next head of U.S. Pacific Command, according to a Monday release from the Defense Department.

Harris, who commands the Pacific Fleet, has been nominated to relieve current PACOM boss Adm. Samuel Locklear as head of American forces from the West Coast to Southeast Asia to India.

A 1978 Naval Academy graduate, Harris spent his career as a naval flight officer, logging more than 4,000 flight hours, including 400 in combat, with the P-3C Orion patrol and reconnaissance aircraft.

His recent assignments include assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, an aide to commander of Naval Forces Japan and three Navy staff tours at the Pentagon.

His operational experience includes the S.S. Achille Lauro hijacking incident, Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, Operation Enduring Freedom and most recently, Operation Odyssey Dawn, 2011 joint operation against the Libyan regime.

His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, two Navy Distinguished Service medals, three Defense Superior Service medals, three Legion of Merit awards, two Bronze Stars and the Air Medal.


Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr., Commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet

Adm. Harris was born in Japan and reared in Tennessee and Florida. Following graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1978 and designation as a naval flight officer, he was assigned to VP-44. His subsequent operational tours include tactical action officer aboard USS Saratoga (CV-60); operations officer in VP-4 at Barbers Point, Hawaii; three tours with Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 1 at Kami Seya, Japan; Director of Operations for U.S. 5th Fleet at Manama, Bahrain; and Director of Operations for U.S. Southern Command.

Harris commanded VP-46, Patrol and Reconnaissance Wing 1, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo, the U.S. 6th Fleet, and Striking and Support Forces NATO.

Harris has served in every geographic combatant command region, and participated in the following major operations: S.S. Achille Lauro terrorist hijacking incident, Attain Document III (Libya, 1986), Earnest Will (Kuwaiti reflagged tanker ops, 1987-88), Desert Shield/Desert Storm, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom, Iraqi Freedom, Willing Spirit (Colombia hostage rescue, 2006-7), and Odyssey Dawn (Libya, 2011). For Odyssey Dawn, he served as the Joint Force Maritime Component Commander afloat.

Harris’ graduate education focused on East Asia security. He attended Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service, and Oxford University. He was a MIT Seminar 21 fellow.

Harris’ staff assignments include aide to Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Japan; chief speechwriter for the Chairman of the JCS; and three tours on the Navy Staff, including as an action officer in the Strategic Concepts Branch, director for the current operations and anti-terrorism/force protection division, and Deputy CNO for Communication Networks (OPNAV N6).

In October 2011, he was assigned as the Assistant to the Chairman of the JCS where he served as the Chairman’s direct representative to the Secretary of State and as the U.S. roadmap monitor for the Mid-East Peace Process.

Harris was promoted to admiral and assumed command of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in October 2013.

Harris has logged 4,400 flight hours, including more than 400 combat hours, in maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft. His personal decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Distinguished Service Medal (two awards), Defense Superior Service Medal (three awards), Legion of Merit (three awards), the Bronze Star (two awards), the Air Medal (one strike/flight), and the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. He is a recipient of the Navy League’s Stephen Decatur, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, and APAICS Lifetime Achievement awards.