New US Forces Japan, 5th Air Force leader assumes command

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  • By Tech. Sgt. Christopher Marasky
  • 374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Lt. Gen. John L. Dolan assumed command of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force during a change of command ceremony held here June 5.

Dolan, the U.S. Pacific Command former chief of staff, replaced Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella who retired June 5.

Gen. Lori J. Robinson, the Pacific Air Forces commander; the air component commander for U.S. Pacific Command; and the executive director of the Pacific Air Combat Operations Staff, officiated the ceremony.

"The security relationship between the U.S. and Japan is the cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific," Robinson said. "(The) 5th Air Force, for example, has provided continuous airpower in the Pacific since September 1941. Today, each of the services in Japan continues the mission of deterring aggression and maintaining regional stability."

As Robinson discussed the role of the command in the Pacific, she highlighted the importance of great leadership during the ceremony.

"This is a special day for Pacific Air Forces and U.S. Pacific Command," Robinson said. "Today, we acknowledge the profound impact of a great leadership team and welcome another one to lead and care for our service men and women in Japan."

As he relinquished command and prepared to head into retirement, Angelella took a moment to highlight some of the challenges and accomplishments during his tenure.

"Three years ago Adm. (Samuel) Locklear tasked (USFJ personnel) to operationalize this organization, and you've done so magnificently," Angelella said. "You did it in the wake and recovery of the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. You brought over the newest equipment and best trained service members and civilians.

"And here we stand today, as we reflect on the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II, the United States and Japan are readying the alliance for the challenges of the future and reaffirming its role as the guarantor of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific," Angelella said.

Dolan took a moment to speak to the men and women of USFJ and 5th Air Force as he assumed the mantle of commander.

"To my joint service and civilian teammates and shipmates, I'm honored to have this opportunity to serve along your side as your USFJ commander," Dolan said. "This past year, I've had the privilege to watch how you all have worked as a team, training side-by-side with our Japanese partners, nurturing our relationships, maintaining the defensive readiness, and providing quick and responsive humanitarian support of the region. Your efforts are a huge part of why our alliance is so strong today.

"To the Airmen in 5th Air Force, I'm proud to be part of your team,” Dolan said. “The successes you have had in providing global reach, power and vigilance to the Pacific region are second to none. For both USFJ and 5th Air Force commands, I will work daily to ensure you have the resources and guidance to be successful in continuing your unique mission sets."