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YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — President Bush has nominated Maj. Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr. to succeed Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright as commanding general of U.S. Forces Japan, according to a USFJ press release Thursday.

Rice currently serves as the vice commander of Pacific Air Forces at Hickam Air Force Base, Hawaii.

Rice’s nomination will be forwarded to the U.S. Senate, along with a recommendation for his promotion to lieutenant general, the release stated.

Following confirmation by the Senate, USFJ officials said they anticipate the change of command in February 2008.

According to his biography, Rice was commissioned in 1978 upon graduation from the Air Force Academy. With more than 3,800 flying hours, he is a command pilot experienced in combat and contingency operations, that include commanding bomber operations during the first four months of Operation Enduring Freedom as commander of the 28th Air Expeditionary Wing.

Wright, a command pilot with more than 3,200 flying hours, including 65 F-16 combat missions, has directed USFJ and 5th Air Force since January 2005.

A 1973 graduate of the Air Force Academy, he has flown combat missions during operations Desert Storm, Provide Comfort and Deny Flight.

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