Naval Forces Western Mindanao welcomes new Commander

Rear Admiral Erick A. Kagaoan is the new commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

RAdm Kagaoan officially took over the leadership of said Naval unit in a traditional Change of Command Ceremony held at the Naval Station Romulo Espaldon, Bagong Calarian, Zamboanga City yesterday (March 7, 2019).

Prior his current designation, Rear Admiral Kagaoan was the Chief of Naval Staff, Philippine Navy. He also held senior positions as the Commander of Naval Forces Northern Luzon and Director of Naval Management and Fiscal Office at Headquarters Philippine Navy. He also commanded seven Philippine Navy commissioned vessels and served in various capacities in the field of intelligence, controllership, and operations in the Philippine Coast Guard, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Fleet.

He is a member of Philippine Military Academy “Hinirang Class” of 1987. He is a highly educated and trained naval officer both local and abroad. His dedication to his profession is reflected by the numerous awards he received that bespeaks of a noble and versatile naval officer that he is.

In his remarks, Rear Admiral Kagaoan expressed his gratitude to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and the AFP leadership for the trust and confidence bestowed upon him.

“Today, I will continue to follow through with all the set plans and thrusts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. I intend to continue ensuring the preparedness of our deployable forces whenever and wherever they are needed to conduct territorial defense, Internal Security, and other activities to support my Unified Command, the Western Mindanao Command. NFWM will support efforts to curb lawless elements and support advocacies as instruments of security and peace in the region,” RAdm Kagaoan said.

The outgoing Commander, Vice Admiral Rene V. Medina, will then fulfil his duty as the new commander of the Western Command.

In his speech, VAdm Medina said, “As the outgoing Commander of this prestigious naval force, I can guarantee every single person aboard, that we, as a team, had accomplished more than what was expected. A legacy that will be remembered by everyone who had and will set foot on this Command”.

The ceremonial turnover was presided by the Flag Officer in Command of the Philippine Navy, Vice Admiral Robert A. Empedrad.

In his speech, VAdm Empedrad recognized the accomplishments of Vice Admiral Medina during his stint as the commander of the NFWM.

“His legacy in the Philippine Navy was magnified when he was designated as Commander, NFWM where during his stint for 2 years, the Naval Forces Western Mindanao got the highest grade in Annual General Inspection and was adjudged as the Naval Operating Forces of the Year of the Philippine Navy in the year 2018. But more importantly, there was no piracy and kidnapping incidents in the vast waters and land area of Western Mindanao, where Fleet Marine team were deployed. During the Marawi war, no less than the Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez AFP said and I quote, without the heroic deeds of the Fleet-Marine forces under the leadership of Vice Admiral Medina, the Marawi war could have not been won very quickly,” VAdm Empedrad said.

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