Admiral Menoni takes over Joint Region Marianas

Rear Adm. John Menoni, left, assumes command of Joint Region Marianas from Rear Adm. Shoshana Chatfield during a change of command ceremony at the Guam High School gymnasium aboard U.S. Naval Hospital Guam in Agana Heights July 23. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class MacAdam Kane Weissman)

Clad in freshly pressed dress uniforms, dozens of military officials along with island leaders gathered at the Guam High School gymnasium Tuesday to witness the change of command ceremony in which Rear Admiral Shoshana Chatfield turned over her role as the commander of Joint Region Marianas to Rear Admiral John Menoni.

Chatfield will be ending her tour of duty on Guam to assume her new position as the first female president of the U.S. Naval War College.

Vice Adm. Mary Jackson, commander, Navy Installations Command, was the keynote speaker and praised Chatfield for her accomplishments.

“The charge of command is foundational to our military success and I am unequivocally confident that the Joint Region has been and continues to be in good hands,” she said. “As I look back at Sho’s tenure as commander, I can say with confidence that Sho has successfully surpassed the requirements of her many demanding duties while embracing all that make Guam and the Marianas unique and special.”

Following her remarks, Jackson presented Chatfield with the Defense Superior Service Medal for her superb services in Micronesia from January 2017 to July 2019.

During her time on island, Chatfield successfully managed critical efforts in providing critical installation support 35 Navy commands in four geographically separate sites, as well as logistics to operational units of the 5th and 7th Fleets.

She also guided JRM through multiple joint and multinational exercises and events enhancing interoperability between allied nations. Additionally, her leadership was vital to the recovery of Guam and the CNMI after Typhoon Mangkhut and Super Typhoon Yutu ripped through the region in 2018.

“We have the most advanced fighting force in the world,” Chatfield said. “But even the most advanced weapons and equipment are useless without highly trained men and women to operate them. Today, our nation’s fighting force is stronger and our national defense more complete because of patriotism and high enlistment rates from our fellow Americans from Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.”

Chatfield thanked members from the government of Guam, CNMI, FSM and Palau, and the local communities for their partnership and expressed her gratitude to her staff for their support during her tour.

The change of command took place amid the local government’s request for the military to pause the construction of the live-fire training range complex in Northwest Field, which is near the site where ancient Chamorro artifacts have been discovered as well as an endangered and mature fire tree.

Menoni reports to Guam after serving as the executive assistant to the deputy chief of naval operations for integration of capabilities and resources.

This is the Menoni’s third assignment to Guam as he was formerly, like Chatfield, the commander of the Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 25, a U-S Navy helicopter squadron based in Andersen Air Force Base.

Menoni will not only be in command of the JRM but also the U.S. Naval Forces Marianas and will also serve as the U.S. Defense Representative to Guam, the CNMI, Republic of Palau, and the FSM.

“To all the shipmates, and I include our Marines, Soldiers, Airmen and civilians as shipmates, who work tirelessly towards mission success, I look forward to working with you, listening and learning from you,” Menoni said. “To our allies and partners, I look forward to our continued friendship and collaboration that will benefit all our nations from here and for generations to come. Thank you for welcoming me back, I look forward to
giving you my very best.”