Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson takes over command of Joint Region Marianas

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Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson (US Navy photo)

As of today, Joint Region Marianas officially has a new commander.

Rear Admiral John Menoni officially ended his tenure as JRM commander during a change of command ceremony Wednesday morning.

He passed the command on to Rear Admiral Benjamin Nicholson.

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Menoni assumed command of JRM in 2019.

His tenure was marked by the coronavirus pandemic which struck the island about five months into his command.

He worked closely with both federal and local government partners as the island learned to cope with the virus.

As ever, varying degrees of support for the military can be found in the island community, especially in light of the military buildup.

During his farewell address, Menoni said that it’s important for the military to not flinch at having difficult conversations as it navigates its complex relationship with the local community.

“As ever, there are people who don’t want the military here and will object to it in the public domain. That’s absolutely ok. We live in a complex society, so everyone has a right to voice their opinions. And we protect and defend those opportunities and the ability to express views without fear of persecution because of a difference of opinion. To all our supporters and detractors, the military here will continue to provide you answers to your questions, and abide by policies and laws that dictate the processes that dictate our relationship,” Menoni said.

Menoni’s next assignment is in Virginia where he’ll serve as commander of Expeditionary Strike Group Two in Virginia Beach.

As Rear Admiral Nicholson took command, he said that he’s committed to continuing the close working relationship between JRM and its federal and local partners on the island.

“I’ve been on the island for just 11 days, and the beauty of the island is breathtaking. I really, truly, deeply look forward to working with you. Thank you. All orders remain in effect. Chief of staff, carry out the plan of the day,” Nicholson said.

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