Expeditionary Strike Group 3 Changes Command

US Navy’s Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) 3 held a change of command ceremony aboard the amphibious transport dock ship USS New Orleans (LPD 18) at Naval Base San Diego, June 17.

Rear Adm. Daniel Fillion relieved Rear Adm. Frank Ponds as Commander ESG-3.

During Pond’s tenure as Commander, ESG-3 served as the Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) Commander for Exercise Ardent Sentry, a defense support of civil authorities’ joint exercise conducted by North American Aerospace Defense Command and U.S. Northern Command.

Ponds also served as ESG-3 commander during the maiden transit of USS America (LHA 6) which engaged in a partnership-building ten-week transit of Latin America known as “America visits the Americas”. In addition, Ponds led ESG-3 participation in exercise Pacific Horizon, a scenario driven, crisis response exercise designed to improve 1st Marine Expeditionary Brigade and ESG-3 interoperability by conducting in-stream MPF offload, civil-military security assistance operations, and by infrastructure restoration support.

Ponds’ ESG-3 team also provided oversight for the training cycles of the Boxer, Makin Island and Essex Amphibious Ready Groups demonstrating their operational readiness and ensuring their on-time deployment to the 5th and 7th Fleet areas of operation.

Fillion most recently served as U.S. Southern Command’s director of Strategy, Policy, & Plans, J5. His afloat assignments include service aboard USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as navigator and USS Wasp (LHD 1) as executive officer and commanding officer. He also served as commanding officer of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron Light 51 and of Helicopter Maritime Strike Squadron 41.

ESG-3 consists of three amphibious squadrons, eight naval support elements and 12 amphibious warships comprised of more than 13,500 active duty and reserve Sailors and Marines.

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Image: US Navy