For the first time since 1974, a four-star general will command US Army Pacific. General Vincent Brooks took over for Lieutenant General Francis Wiercinski in a ceremony at Fort Shafter Tuesday.
Brooks and Wiercinski both graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point. Brooks has served for 33 years, both domestically and abroad in such places as Germany, Korea, Kosovo and the Middle East.
His appointment is part of an army strategy to re-balance and re-focus on the Pacific.
"This is about returning our focus, back to the Pacific. This is a fulfillment of something that was Senator Inouye's desires for a long time, and certainly the desires of the US Army as well" said General Brooks.
Inouye's widow, Irene, attended the ceremony and presented the command with the Inouye Star.
Said Mrs. Inouye of her late husband, "He had believed that this equity with other commands in the Pacific was critical to our military's position in the Asia-Pacific region. I know that he would be so pleased this morning."
General Brooks acknowledged that there will be challenges ahead, like dealing with sequestration.
"It's difficult, because it really means a lack of control on how we make adjustments to the size of the force, and while that's principally a Washington problem, we have to pay attention to that out here in the service component commands around the globe, like this one."