Former Red Hill Task Force Commander Heading to U.S. 3rd Fleet

May 9, 2024 5:48 PM
Joint Task Force-Red Hill (JTF-RH) Commander, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. John Wade delivers remarks and re-emphasizes JTF-RH’s commitment to safety during a press conference held Oct. 13, 2023 hosted by JTF-RH. DoD Photo

Vice Adm. John Wade has a new assignment following his stint as the leader of Joint Task Force – Red Hill.

Wade will serve as the commander of U.S. 3rd Fleet in San Diego, Calif., according to a Thursday Pentagon announcement.

Wade oversaw the defeuling of the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility following a November 2021 leak that contaminated drinking water with jet fuel and maritime diesel.

Wade turned over the responsibilities of closing Red Hill to the Navy Closure Task Force – Red Hill in March, while he stayed on to help finish the administrative work necessary to end the task force, he told USNI News ahead of the turnover ceremony. At the time, Wade was unsure where he would go after his time in Hawaii.

Wade will take over 3rd Fleet from Vice Adm. Michael Boyle, who has been leading the San Diego-based fleet since June 2022. Boyle has been nominated to serve as the next deputy chief of naval operations for operations, plans and strategy (OPNAV N3/N5).

Meanwhile, Rear Adm. Michael Vernazza will serve as the next commander of Naval Information Forces in Suffolk, Va. He will also be appointed to vice admiral. Vernazza will succeed Vice Adm. Kelly Aeschbach, who has been the commander of Naval Information Forces since May of 2021.

Vernazza is currently the commander of Fleet Information Warfare Command Pacific and Information Warfare Task Force (TF-501), Pacific, located at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Hawaii.

He is a 1990 graduate of the Naval Academy, according to his biography. Vernazza previously served as the deputy branch head for Battlespace Awareness Programs under the office of the Chief of Naval Operations, the director for intelligence for Carrier Strike Group 11 and the chief of staff and deputy commander for Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. 10th Fleet.

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio

Heather Mongilio is a reporter with USNI News. She has a master’s degree in science journalism and has covered local courts, crime, health, military affairs and the Naval Academy.
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