YOKOTA AIR BASE, Tokyo, Japan -- Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez assumed command of United States Forces, Japan, and 5th Air Force during a ceremony here Oct. 6.
Martinez was the Director of Operations for the U.S. Air Force’s Air Mobility Command at Scott AFB, Illinois. He is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the C-17A, C-5B, C-141B, and KC-135R.
Martinez assumed command following the departure of Lt. Gen. John L. Dolan, who left USFJ in August to become the Director for Operations for the Joint Staff in Washington, D.C.
Admiral Harry B. Harris, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command, General Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Commander, U.S. Pacific Air Forces were the presiding officers for the ceremony. Also in attendance were numerous distinguished Japanese guests from the Japan Joint Staff, Ministry of Defense, the Government of Japan and local municipalities.
Admiral Harris spoke about the critical role of the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
“Defense Secretary Ash Carter has identified five strategic, and very real, global challenges to U.S. security that drive our defense planning and budgeting –North Korea, China, Russia, the Islamic State or ISIL, and Iran,” the admiral said. “And guess what? Four of these challenges are resident in this neighborhood.
“So we must consider every possible step to defend the U.S. homeland and defend our allies,” he continued. “That’s why I continue to emphasize trilateral cooperation between Japan, South Korea and the United States. And that’s why all nations must continue to rally the international community to loudly condemn North Korea’s aberrational behavior and be prepared to counter this challenge.”
In his comments, General O’Shaughnessy emphasized the importance of air power in our nation’s defense.
“From the F-16s at Misawa and the F-15s at Kadena, air superiority is never in question,” the general said. “From the intel assets at each base and the AWACS at Kadena, both ISR and command and control are synched and always ready wherever, whenever tasked. From the helos, C-130s, C-12s, and KC-135s, we ensure our ability to deliver rapid global mobility no matter the time or place.”
During his speech after the assumption of command, General Martinez directed his remarks to the Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors and Marines under his command.
"Whether you are in U.S. Forces Japan or 5th Air Force know that I will pledge something that I pledge every time that I have been in command; and that is that I will do my best to take care of you and your families," General Martinez said.
"I will do my best to keep this alliance as strong as it can possibly be."