By W.B. TerryJanuary 13, 2012
FORT SHAFTER, Hawaii -- Lt. Gen. Francis J. Wiercinski joined senior military leaders of the Pacific Command at the 11th annual Hawaii Military Partnership Conference Jan. 5 in Waikiki.
Wiercinski, the U.S. Army Pacific commander, and other PACOM component commanders from each of the services based in Hawaii, presented an overview of current and projected posturing of the U.S. military in Asia and the Pacific to the Military Affairs Council, the Chamber of Commerce and other officials.
Wiercinski stressed the importance of Army forces in the Pacific.
"I'm here today to talk about the Army," he said. "What is a fact, is that in a geopolitical and economic sense, the Pacific is the future. And it is, in this century because you are seeing a fundamental shift from Europe to the Pacific of our forces, of our priorities and where we're headed."
He stressed the significance of Hawaii to USARPAC.
"Obviously our center of gravity is here in Hawaii. It's where the majority of our forces are, it's where the majority of our families live, it's where our headquarters are located. But we have forces prepositioned and stationed around the entire Pacific realm."
Solider deployments from USARPAC have played a critical role in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wiercinski said. Since 2001, USARPAC has deployed 115,000 Soldiers from the U.S. Army Pacific into those areas.
The commander also praised the success of U.S. Army Garrison Hawaii and its partnership with the local community.
"Our garrison here in Hawaii is the fourth largest garrison that we have in the Army. Just like we've signed a U.S. Army Covenant to our Families and our Soldiers, we've signed a Hawaii Covenant that is also a commitment to the people here in Hawaii, the local community and the ohana that we all belong. We have many forums that we conduct monthly, quarterly and yearly to make sure we're staying on that path to meet our requirements and responsibilities. Some of the things that we do is teaching partnership and watching out for the environment and culture that is so rich here in Hawaii," he said.
The keynote speaker at the conference was Adm. Robert F. Willard, U.S. Pacific Commander. He said Hawaii, as the forward most state, is the most strategic in terms of entry into Asia and is an important region of the world.