USA: Flag Circle Hosts Change of Command Ceremony

Flag Circle Hosts Change of Command Ceremony

Rear Adm. Tilghman D. Payne relieved Rear Adm. Paul J. Bushong as Commander, Joint Region Marianas (JRM) during a change of command ceremony at Flag Circle in Asan, Guam, July 27.

Payne also assumed the titles of U.S. Defense Representative Guam, Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau; and Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Marianas.

Vice Adm. William D. French, commander, Navy Installations Command, was the guest speaker.

“We are here today to recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Rear Adm. Paul Bushong and welcome another great leader,” French said. “The strength, courage and fortitude of leaders like Paul Bushong and Tilghman Payne is what makes the United States Navy the best in the world. Adm. Tilghman Payne takes over a region that’s critical and unique in our Navy. Joint Region Marianas is critical to meeting CNO (Chief of Naval Operations Jonathan) Greenert’s guidance and his sailing directions which can be summed up in six words – ‘war fighting first, operate forward and be ready’. I can’t think of (any) other place that captures those prerequisites and requirements than here in Guam.”

Bushong delivered his final remarks as JRM commander and emphasized the importance of Guam to the United States.

“Guam has played a unique and strategic role for more than 100 years and will continue to play a strategic role for the foreseeable future,” Bushong said. “In January, President Obama released the emerging defense strategy which explicitly states that the number one priority in regards to regions is the Pacific. This was based on the recognition that for the United States to remain a great power and able to influence world events to our advantage, we must get our fiscal house in order. To do this, we must get our economy going and the key to that is the Asian-Pacific. Just a glance at the globe tells you that Guam is a big part of our Asian-Pacific strategy.”

Bushong said he and his wife, Dona, were blessed throughout their two tours totaling four and a half years on the island.

“We will miss Guam,” he said. “Thank you for making our time here truly enjoyable. Tilghman, congratulations on coming to a great job. I guarantee the people here in Guam will welcome you, and embrace you and your family as one of their own just like they did us.”

Bushong is nominated for promotion to vice admiral and will serve as U.S. security coordinator, Israel-Palestinian Authority.

Payne is reporting to Guam after serving as Commander, Navy Region Midwest, Great Lakes, Ill.

“I can’t tell you how great it is to be here today, back in the Pacific and taking command of such a historical organization,” Payne said. “A few months ago when I learned I was coming to Guam I was very excited. There is no place that epitomizes more of what the Navy is about. I cannot think of a more dynamic and interesting place to serve.”

Naval Today Staff, July 30, 2012; Image: US Navy