U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, answers questions from Airmen during a luncheon at the Marshall Dining Facility on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 19, 2012. The general also talked to the 30 Kadena Airmen in attendance about regional current events. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, speaks to Airmen during an all-call at the Keystone Theater on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 19, 2012. The general spoke about regional current events and answered questions and concerns of Kadena Airmen. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)
U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, speaks to Airmen during an all-call at the Keystone Theater on Kadena Air Base, Japan, Sept. 19, 2012. The general shared regional current events and addressed concerns from Kadena. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Tara A. Williamson)
by Staff Sgt. Sara Csurilla
18th Wing Public Affairs
9/24/2012 - KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa -- Lt. Gen. Sam Angelella, U.S. Forces, Japan, and 5th Air Force commander, recently came to meet with service members throughout Okinawa.
During his short trip, General Angelella visited with Kadena Airmen, talked with leadership from sister services island-wide and held a commander's call to all Airmen where he discussed some topics of interest for Team Kadena and USFJ.
One of the key messages the commander expressed was the United State's commitment to Japan and maintaining the peace and stability in the Pacific region.
"One of my jobs as the USFJ commander, if tasked by the (Pacific Command) commander would be to lead a joint task force here in Japan for disaster relief, humanitarian assistance and the defense of Japan," said General Angelella. "I'm getting asked a lot of questions about the command and control in Japan and how we're going to be able to do that. So instead of starting from zero I'm going to start by taking the lessons learned from what you all did (during Operation Tomodachi) and what your commanders did, and institutionalize that. We are going to transform the staff."
Another key topic the general discussed was the operations tempo that Kadena and the Air Force are experiencing as a whole.
"The ops tempo is never ending," said the commander. "I know you have an inspection coming. Your boss tells me you're doing really well, and to that I say hey, it's okay to work hard. I know you're working hard, and I think you should get a lot of satisfaction out of what you're doing and what you can accomplish.
"The Air Force as you know it has been at war since (the 90's)," he continued. "So to those of you that have signed up since then, I thank you. I thank you for your service and I thank your families."
Being such a long distance from home and with such a high ops tempo at Kadena, another very serious topic was addressed during the all call.
"(Suicide) is a serious problem," Angelella said. "Any life lost is a tragedy and I will tell you we are focused on it, and somewhere in here in this room full of hundreds of people, someone is lonely. You need to take care of each other. What I tell the young leaders is that you need to know about your Airmen and their families and their problems. Sometimes it only takes one question. You have to be direct and don't let anyone feel like they are left out.
"We're coming up on the holiday season and it's a time that's supposed to be filled with happiness and cheer," he continued. "We're a long way from home. Somebody's not going to be able to go home, so don't let them spend the holidays alone. Be a good charitable person and a good wingman."