Rear Admiral Phillip Sawyer, outgoing Commander, Submarine Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet, walks through the side boys during the COMSUBPAC change of command ceremony in 2015, at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam. (U.S. Navy photo)
YOKOSUKA, Japan-- The collision between the USS John S. McCain and a merchant marine ship has proved to be the last straw for the U.S. Navy. Seventh Fleet Vice Admiral Joseph Aucoin who has been relieved due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command. Lesser officers, including, certainly, the captain of the damaged ship, are likely to suffer the same fate.
Admiral Scott Swift, commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet, relieved Vice Admiral Aucoin, who will be replaced by Rear Admiral Phil Sawyer, who has already been nominated and confirmed for the position and promotion to vice admiral.
Sawyer will assume command immediately.
Sawyer has served as the deputy commander of U.S. Pacific Fleet since September 2015.
A career submariner, Sawyer is quite familiar with the 7th Fleet area of operations. Before heading to Pearl Harbor to work at PACFLEET, Sawyer commanded all submarines in 7th Fleet as commander of Submarine Group 7/Task Force 74/54, and then all submarines in the Pacific as commander of Submarine Force U.S. Pacific Fleet.
The Phoenix native commanded the USS La Jolla and Submarine Squadron 15 in Guam.
Sawyer graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1983 with a bachelor of science in systems engineering.