Vice Adm. Phil Sawyer, commander of U.S. 7th Fleet, arrived in Yokosuka Aug. 25, after assuming command Aug. 23, according to a Navy press release.
Prior to his arrival to Japan, Sawyer participated in the International Maritime Security Symposium hosted by the Indonesian Navy in Bali, Indonesia.
As reported, Adm. Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, Wednesday named to the post after relieving Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command.
Aucoin was relieved of command after four accidents involving Navy ships in the Pacific this year, the latest being the collision involving the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain with the merchant vessel Alnic MC on August 21.
A career submariner, Sawyer has extensive experience as a commander in the Indo-Asia-Pacific. His most recent assignment was deputy commander, U.S. Pacific Fleet in Hawaii. Before that, he was commander, U.S. Submarine Forces Pacific, also in Hawaii; and commander, Submarine Group 7/ Task Force 54 and 74 in Yokosuka. His afloat commands were USS La Jolla (SSN 701) and Submarine Squadron 15 in Guam.
U.S. 7th Fleet is the largest of the U.S. Navy’s forward deployed fleets. At any given time there are roughly 50-70 ships and submarines, 140 aircraft, and approximately 20,000 Sailors in the region. Seventh Fleet’s area of operation spans more than 124 million square kilometers, stretching from the International Date Line to the India/Pakistan border; and from the Kuril Islands in the North to the Antarctic in the South.
US Navy Identifies Second Deceased USS John S. McCain Sailor
In a separate press release, the Navy said that divers recovered and identified remains of 26-year-old USS John S. McCain (DDG 56) Sailor, Electronics Technician 3rd Class Dustin Louis Doyon, of Connecticut, Aug. 24.
More divers and equipment arrived overnight to continue search and recovery operations for eight missing sailors inside flooded compartments of the ship.
Earlier Thursday, divers recovered the remains of 22-year-old Electronics Technician 3rd Class Kenneth Aaron Smith from New Jersey.
The search continues for the remains of eight other sailors.