President Donald Trump has named Vice Admiral John Christopher Aquilino the new U.S. Pacific Fleet commander.
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the 1979 Walt Whitman High School graduate would be promoted to the rank of admiral, taking charge of a fleet spanning nearly 100 million square miles, half of the Earth’s surface, Navy officials said.
The Pacific Fleet consists of about 200 ships and submarines, nearly 1,200 aircraft and more than 130,000 sailors and civilians.
Aquilino currently serves as commander of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, the Fifth Fleet and the Combined Maritime Forces in Bahrain.
He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1984, earning a bachelor’s degree in physics.
He subsequently entered flight training and earned his wings in August 1986.
Aquilino served in multiple fighter squadrons that flew F-14 A/B Tomcat and F-18 C/E/F Hornet aircraft, as well as led the VF-11 Red Rippers, Carrier Air Wing 2 and Carrier Strike Group 2.
His assignments ashore include time as adversary instructor pilot for the A-4, F-5, and F-16N aircraft; operations officer at the Strike Weapons and Tactics School, Atlantic; and special assistant for weapons systems and advanced development at the Office of the Legislative Affairs for the Secretary of Defense.
He also served as director of strategy and policy for the U.S. Joint Forces Command; deputy director for the Joint Force Coordinator of the Joint Staff; commander of CSG-2l; director of maritime operations for the U.S. Pacific Fleet; and deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy.
He is entitled to wear the Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Air Medal, as well as several other personal unit and campaign awards. He has accumulated more than 5,100 mishap-free flight hours and over 1,150 carrier-arrested landings.