U.S. Forces Japan commander Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Waskow.

U.S. Forces Japan commander Lt. Gen. Thomas C. Waskow. (Courtesy of USAF)

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — The senior U.S. military representative in Japan is retiring this fall.

Lt. Gen. Thomas Waskow, commander of the 5th Air Force and U.S. Forces Japan, will officially vacate the posts Oct. 1, Air Force officials announced. He arrived at Yokota in November 2001.

President Bush recently nominated Air Force Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, who’s currently serving as vice commander of the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Va., to replace Waskow. His appointment remains subject to Senate confirmation.

“We have no firm dates yet on when the ceremony will take place, but we’re tentatively planning for an early October change-of-command ceremony,” said Air Force Col. Victor Warzinski, a USFJ spokesman. “Gen. Waskow will remain in place until Gen. Wright is confirmed by the Senate and arrives at Yokota.”

Waskow’s retirement ceremony will take place in the United States, Warzinski said. A date and location have not been determined.

Waskow is a command pilot with more than 4,500 flying hours, including 904 in combat.

According to his biography, Waskow was commissioned in 1970 upon graduation from the Air Force Academy. Early in his career, he flew 282 combat missions over South Vietnam and Cambodia.

He’s served in overseas locations for 13 of the past 15 years, including stints in Okinawa, Belgium, Italy, Guam and Hawaii.

When he arrived at Yokota, Waskow vowed to “improve the quality of life for our soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guard assigned to Japan. You have given our two countries your total support, and I will give you mine.”

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