The Latest: Top Pacific Marine to keep up work with allies

AP News
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Posted: Aug 26, 2016 11:40 PM
The Latest: Top Pacific Marine to keep up work with allies

KANEOHE BAY, Hawaii (AP) — The Latest on the Marine Corps' new commander in the Pacific (all times local):

2:15 p.m.

The U.S. Marine Corps' new commander for the Pacific says he aims to carry on his predecessor's momentum on helping allies and partners develop their amphibious skills.

Lt. Gen. David Berger assumed command from Lt. Gen. John Toolan during a ceremony on Friday.

Toolan told reporters after the ceremony that helping allies Japan, Australia and South Korea develop their amphibious operations was one of his top accomplishments as Marine Forces Pacific commander.

Toolan says these allies have purchased new ships and their commanders have spent time with U.S. Marine leaders to learn amphibious operations doctrine. He says it's showing.

Toolan says there's growing interest in amphibious capabilities in the Pacific because of China's land-reclamation efforts in the South China Sea, where several nations have contested territorial claims.

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3 a.m.

The U.S. Marines are getting a new commander in the Pacific.

Lt. Gen. David Berger is scheduled to take over at Marine Corps Forces Pacific on Friday. He succeeds Lt. Gen. John Toolan, who is retiring.

Pacific Forum CSIS Executive Director Brad Glosserman says Berger will have to ensure his new command's warfighting capabilities remain sharp amid tensions on the Korean peninsula, the East China Sea and the South China Sea.

Glosserman says the Marines are also playing an important role in helping U.S. allies and partners in the region develop their own amphibious capabilities.

Berger most recently served as the commander of a marine expeditionary force at Camp Pendleton.

Marine Forces Pacific includes units in California, Hawaii, Japan and South Korea. Some are in Australia on a six-month rotation.