SAN DIEGO - Rear Adm. Frank Ponds relieved Rear Adm. Gerry Hueber as the commander of Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG) Three at a change of command ceremony onboard USS San Diego (LPD 22) on July 25, 2013.
During Hueber’s tenure as commander, ESG 3 fulfilled its missions by serving as the MPF commander for exercise Native Fury, a humanitarian assistance and disaster relief focused MPF exercise in the United Arab Emirates; as the commander of Joint Logistics Over-The-Shore (LOTS) Exercise 2013 in South Korea, the largest combined LOTS exercise since 2001; commander for Joint Task Force G20 supporting the 2012 G-20 Summit in Mexico, and commander of the amphibious task force for Dawn Blitz 2011 and 2013, a brigade level amphibious exercise; and command element for DSCA events in San Francisco, Seattle, and Portland; as well as oversight of the training cycles for the Makin Island and Peleliu Amphibious Ready Groups and their on-time deployment and demonstrated operational readiness.
Ponds hails from Alabama, and most recently served as Commander, Naval Region Hawaii, Naval Surface Group Middle Pacific. His other command tours include Amphibious Squadron Eight from November 2007 to May 2009 and destroyer USS Fife (DD 991) from October 2001 to February 2003.
ESG 3 consists of three amphibious squadrons, eight naval support elements and 12 amphibious warships comprised of more than 13,500 Sailors and Marines. The mission of ESG 3 is to serve as the command element for Marine expeditionary brigade level expeditionary operations as commander of an amphibious task force or a maritime prepositioning force (MPF). In addition, ESG 3 serves as commander third fleet’s operational expert on amphibious warfare and command element for defense support of civil authorities (DSCA) operations and exercises.