Harris tapped to lead PACOM

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.

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