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Japanese-American takes U.S. Pacific fleet helm

Kyodo

The U.S. Navy has chosen its first Japanese-American to lead the Pacific Fleet, a spokesman said Thursday.

Adm. Harry Harris, a former assistant to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, succeeded Adm. Cecil Haney on Wednesday as top commander of the Hawaii-based fleet.

Harris was born in the city of Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, to a Japanese woman and her American husband. He grew up in Tennessee and Florida. The U.S. Navy keeps its Japan headquarters in Yokosuka, home to the 7th Fleet.

Harris said at a ceremony Wednesday that he will “work closely with our allies and partners in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” according to the fleet’s website.

After graduating from the Naval Academy in 1978, Harris studied at such institutions as Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, according to the navy.

The Pacific Fleet oversees the 3rd and 7th fleets, which jointly cover waters ranging from the U.S. West Coast to the Indian Ocean.