HeroVet: Admiral Thomas Fargo (Ret)
In a post 9/11 era where a premium is placed on military & intelligence cooperation between countries & cultures, Admiral Thomas Fargo demonstrated these skills in textbook fashion as leader of the U.S. Pacific Command, a region that covers more than half of the globe.
But without firing a shot, Admiral Fargo should be recognized for his contributions to humanity. Culminating his three-year tenure as PACOM Commander (he formally retired in March, 2005), Admiral Fargo led the U.S. relief efforts in the tsunami-hit region surrounding the Indian and Pacific Oceans. Six months later, as the rebuilding continues, we honor Admiral Fargo for his work in assisting the millions of victims of this unprecedented disaster.
At the height of the relief efforts, the U.S. sent more than 16,500 personnel to tsunami-stricken countries and deployed the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as a base for relief efforts into the Indonesian province of Aceh, where more than 160,000 people were killed.
Admiral Fargo, whose command includes 300,000 Army, Navy, Marine & Air Force personnel across 100 million square miles, said a team effort from military brass across more than a dozen nations showed the strength of their collaboration.
"It’s important to point out that this likely could not have happened without our ongoing security cooperation efforts designed to strengthen our alliance with Thailand and all the countries of this region and the fact that we’ve been able to build enduring habits of cooperation over a long period of time," Fargo said during a press briefing less than two weeks after the killer waves hit.
Within 24 hours of the first reports, Fargo and his team began high-level planning, communicating with regional ambassadors, and coordinating with military commanders throughout the region. Damage assessment teams were ordered to the region within 48 hours, followed soon after by the Lincoln Carrier Battle Group and the USS Bonhomme Richard Expeditionary Group.
"[This effort] will necessitate one of the most complex humanitarian disaster-relief efforts of recent history," he said.
This unprecedented effort occurred, of course, against the backdrop of ongoing U.S. military & security operations and responsibilities in the region, most notably in Korea.
Career of Service
Born in San Diego, Calif., in June 1948, Admiral Fargo attended high school in Coronado, Calif., and Sasebo, Japan, and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in June 1970.
Trained in joint, naval and submarine commands, Admiral Fargo has served in a variety of sea and shore duty assignments. At sea, his five assignments in both attack and ballistic missile submarines included Executive Officer aboard USS Plunger (SSN 595) and Commanding Officer of USS Salt Lake City (SSN 716). He served as Commander, Submarine Group SEVEN, Commander Task Force SEVEN FOUR, and Commander Task Force ONE FIVE SEVEN in the Western Pacific, Indian Ocean and Arabian Gulf from 1992 to 1993. He commanded the United States FIFTH Fleet and Naval Forces of the Central Command during two years of Iraqi contingency operations from July 1996 to July 1998. Admiral Fargo served as the 29th Commander in Chief, U.S. Pacific Fleet from October 1999 to May 2002.
Ashore, Admiral Fargo has served in the Bureau of Naval Personnel and with the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet and has had multiple assignments in the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations.
Since his selection to Flag rank in 1994, Admiral Fargo has served as Director of Operations (J-3), U.S. Atlantic Command during the Haiti intervention; as Director, Assessment Division (N-81) for the Chief of Naval Operations; and the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Plans, Policy and Operations (N3/N5).
Honors for Leadership and Regional Security
Admiral Fargo is a 1989 recipient of the Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale Award for Inspirational Leadership. His personal decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal (four awards), the Defense Superior Service Medal and the Legion of Merit (three awards).
Fargo has also received numerous accolades from other nations. In February, 2005, he was designated an Honorary Officer in the Order of Australia (Military Division), for his distinguished naval service, particularly for strengthening the Australia-US alliance during his command of PACOM."
The citation records Admiral Fargo’s role in building a closer regional security community in Asia-Pacific, leading to enhanced cooperation in counter-terrorism, maritime security and counter-proliferation.
Admiral Fargo’s leadership has inspired nations to work more closely together in the region, and helped deliver improved prospects for security for the U.S. and other nations. "The American taxpayers made an investment in a very solid and robust military capability that has a wide range of uses. And we’re demonstrating the value of that investment today," Fargo said.
Image Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_B._Fargo#/media/File:Thomas_fargo.jpg