By Staff Sgt. Christopher McCulloughMay 5, 2016
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii. - U.S. Army Pacific held its change of command at Fort Shafter, Hawaii, May 4. Gen. Robert B. Brown took command of USARPAC from Gen. Vincent K. Brooks, who commanded USARPAC for almost three years, in a public ceremony on Historic Palm Circle, at Fort Shafter, Hawaii.
Brooks took command on July 2, 2013, marking the elevation of the command to a "four star" general for the first time since 1974.
Brown comes to USARPAC after serving as the Commanding General at the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. During his 35 years as a commissioned officer, he has served 12 years with units focused on the Indo-Asia Pacific region, including Commanding General of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord; Deputy Commanding General of the 25th Infantry Division; Commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team (Stryker), 25th Infantry Division; and executive assistant to the PACOM Commander and director of training and exercises at the U.S. PACOM headquarters, at Camp Smith, Hawaii.
During his address, Brown commented on how important accomplishing the common goals and supporting the commander of U.S. PACOM is to sustain the momentum in the rebalance to the Pacific.
"We will carry on the hard work that's been done and will advance the culture of innovation in U.S. Army Pacific that has been established. We will pursue positive and persistent engagements with regional friends and partners. We will strengthen our alliances and continuously renew our commitment to peace and stability in the region, and perhaps most importantly ensuring the readiness of our Soldiers to fight anywhere as needed in the world and of course in the Pacific area of responsibility."
Adm. Harry B. Harris, Commander, U.S. PACOM, was also on hand to bid farewell to Brooks and Aloha to Brown.
"Today we bid fair winds and following seas to a great Soldier and a great leader in Gen. Vince Brooks, but at the same time we are welcoming a worthy successor, Gen. Bob Brown; another tremendous leader to the crucible of theater command."
Harris reminisced about Brook's contributions to PACOM, recalling how Brook's knowledge of tactical and operational and policy experience gave him the expertise to create Pacific Pathways which is enabling change in the complex environment in the Indo-Asian Pacific region.
"He had a vision of leveraging rotational Army units, helicopter deployments and existing exercises to advance critical partnerships, increase responsiveness and actually improve readiness. In this theater, where 'fight tonight' is not a slogan but a way of life, Pacific Pathways is making a difference."
Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, who hosted the event on behalf of the Army Chief of Staff, explained how leadership innovation flourished under Brooks' tutelage, "providing vital support to the PACOM team as the theater joint force land component command and integrating almost 30,000 additional Army forces assigned or allocated to PACOM."
Allyn illustrated as much by pointing how innovative the Pacific Pathways program has become and how it's more than its original vision entailed.
"Pacific Pathways increases our understanding of a complex area of operations, creates opportunities to rehearse core missions, strengthens relationships with friends and allies and raises the level of Army readiness at every echelon," Allyn said.
Before he ended his remarks, the Vice Chief of Staff offered a message of support specifically for Brown. He instructed him to "remain vigilant and ensure our forces are trained and ready to meet any contingency and continue to build and expand on relationships with our joint teammates and partners throughout the Pacific."
U.S. Army Pacific exercises administrative control over all US Army forces in the PACOM area of responsibility from India to the west coast of the United States, and leads the Army interactions with 36 countries in the region.