New commander takes reigns of US Japan, 5th AF

Lieutenant General Jerry P. Martinez, Commander, U.S. Forces Japan, and Commander, 5th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base, Japan, official Photo

Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez, the, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, Pacific Air Forces, Yokota Air Base, Japan, official Photo

Lt. Gen. Jerry P. Martinez assumed command of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force during a ceremony here Oct. 6.

Martinez was the director of operations for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Illinois. He is a command pilot with more than 4,000 hours in the C-17A Globemaster III, C-5B Galaxy, C-141B Starlifter and KC-135R Stratotanker.

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.

Adm. Harry B. Harris, the U.S. Pacific Command commander, was one of the presiding officers for the ceremony and spoke about the critical role of the U.S. and Japanese 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.”

During his speech after the assumption of command, 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," Martinez said. "I will do my best to keep this alliance as strong as it can possibly be."