Why The US Appointing An Aussie General To Command Its Pacific Troops Is a Big Deal

US Command PacificExercise Yama Sakura: an annual, joint, bi-lateral exercise held between the U.S. and Japanese Ground Self defence Force.

Photo: USAPAC

As the Pentagon pours attention and resources into the conflict-ridden Asian-Pacific theatre, it’s made an unheard of command choice.The AP reports Australian Maj. General Richard Burr is now Deputy Commanding General for Operations at U.S. Pacific Command (USARPAC) out of Hawaii.

It’s the first time a non-American has served in such a high-ranking position at this type of command.

This isn’t some out-of-the way little military base — this is the command led by Major General George Moore in the days after World War II. Moore fought at Battan along with enough other dark Pacific campaigns to fill a wall map. This command today will be pivotal in organising and supplying military operations in the region, and key in building U.S. projection within the Asian theatre.

Gen Richard BurrMajor General Rick Burr

Photo: US Army

USARPAC is commanded by LTG. “Frank” Wiercinski, who just left the Acting Commander Spot at Ft. Campbell, home to the 101st Airborne Division. That “Air Assault” group called the Screaming Eagles has perhaps been deployed more in the past 10 years than any other military division in the U.S.With nearly non-stop, back-to-back deployments, LTG Wiercinski has a bevy of experience with active troop rotations “down range”. That logistical, hands-on experience with forward troops may come in handy if conflicts spring up in the region.

Together the men will package and deliver troops to locations U.S. forces haven’t been in decades. It seems like a solid match as the Pacific Command strives to fulfils its mission:

USARPAC postures and prepares the force for unified land operations, responds to threats, sustains and protects the force, and builds military relationships that develop partner defence capacity in order to contribute to a stable and secure USPACOM area of responsibility.

They’ve got their work cut out for them as the U.S. tries to renew and forge fresh relationships with countries throughout the Pacific Rim.

Along with many medals and USMC training, Maj. Gen. Burr is also holds the honour of the Patron of the Defence Australian Rules Football Association.

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