Lt. Gen. David Berger, commander of I Marine Expeditionary Force, has been nominated to become the new head of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Pacific and Fleet Marine Force Pacific.
If confirmed by the Senate, Berger would replace Lt. Gen. John Toolan, who is retiring in September after a 40-year career in the Marine Corps, said MARFORPAC spokesman Chuck Little. The change of command ceremony would take place in August, marking two years since Toolan took command.
Berger was commissioned as an infantry officer in 1982 and served as a company commander and battalion operations officer in 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion during Operation Desert Storm, according to his official biography.
Later, he commanded Regimental Combat Team 8 in Fallujah, Iraq, and served as the commander of 1st Marine Division (forward) in Afghanistan.
From 2013 to 2014, Berger commanded the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, California.
He has completed graduated from U.S. Army Ranger School, Jumpmaster School, U.S. Navy Dive School and U.S. Marine Corps Amphibious Reconnaissance School.
As I MEF's commander, Berger said last year that the Marines were looking to put at putting Marines aboard non-combat ships for humanitarian relief efforts, recognizing that the Navy Marine Corps does not have enough amphibious assault ships to meet combatant commanders' needs.
Marines in the Pacific are often called on to respond to humanitarian crises, as seen in places like the Philippines and Japan following deadly typhoons, earthquakes or tsunamis.
"They're not replacements for an amphib ship, but there are a lot of circumstances where there's a humanitarian crisis where you've got to move a lot of stuff from one place to another and the threat is low and you need a seabase," Berger told reporters in March 2015. "That's what we're working on — how can these things fill in with capabilities where you're not facing the high-end threat where you don't need a combatant ship that, if nothing else, is survivable?"
But the Marine Corps has no plans to use such ships for combat missions because, "If you're in a high-intensity conflict where you have to have a really tough time penetrating a high-end defense, you're not going to plow in there with an aluminum hull anything, not for very long," Berger said.