U.S. commander in Pacific steps down


Retiring U.S. Navy Adm. Robert Willard, who oversaw the Operation Tomodachi disaster relief effort, stepped down Friday as head of the U.S. Pacific Command.

At a ceremony in Hawaii, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Willard as “an extraordinary leader” who helped “Japan, a true friend, to stand back up and stand back strongly after they had been knocked down.”

Adm. Samuel Locklear replaced Willard on Friday.