Subscribe
Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, and Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella salute after Wright passed the guidon to Angelella, signifying his assumption of the 35th Fighter Wing's command.

Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, and Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella salute after Wright passed the guidon to Angelella, signifying his assumption of the 35th Fighter Wing's command. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, and Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella salute after Wright passed the guidon to Angelella, signifying his assumption of the 35th Fighter Wing's command.

Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force, and Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella salute after Wright passed the guidon to Angelella, signifying his assumption of the 35th Fighter Wing's command. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, left, salutes his troops during the 35th Fighter Wing’s change-of-command ceremony. Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore “Sam” Angelella, the wing's new leader, is in the background.

Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, left, salutes his troops during the 35th Fighter Wing’s change-of-command ceremony. Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore “Sam” Angelella, the wing's new leader, is in the background. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

Airmen at Misawa Air Base Japan witness the change in leadership of the 35th Fighter Wing.

Airmen at Misawa Air Base Japan witness the change in leadership of the 35th Fighter Wing. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

The 35th Fighter Wing's new commander, Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella, speaks to troops during the wing's change-of-command ceremony Friday morning at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Angelella replaces Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, who heads to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to command the 57th Wing.

The 35th Fighter Wing's new commander, Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore "Sam" Angelella, speaks to troops during the wing's change-of-command ceremony Friday morning at Misawa Air Base, Japan. Angelella replaces Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, who heads to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to command the 57th Wing. (Jennifer H. Svan / S&S)

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Brig. Gen. Bill Rew, in an emotional farewell to his troops Friday morning, said after 16 months at Misawa, he felt like “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”

“Without a doubt, this has been the best assignment my family and I have ever had in our career,” the outgoing commander told a crowd of U.S. and Japanese military officers, airmen, civilians, dependents and Misawa community leaders packed into Hangar 949 for the 35th Fighter Wing’s change-of-command ceremony.

“I doubt never again will I be able to go about such a beautiful base and see so many people wave, salute and smile as I pass,” Rew said, his voice cracking at times. “I may never again see so many professionals toiling so diligently in the offices, backshops, hangars, on the flight line and in the skies, knowing that what they do is so important to our freedom.”

While thanking servicemembers and community leaders for their support, Rew assured them the base would continue to be in good hands. Brig. Gen. (select) Salvatore “Sam” Angelella accepted the guidon from U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Bruce A. Wright, signifying the wing’s transfer to a new leader.

Rew and Angelella have crossed paths twice before: While Rew commanded the 35th Operations Group at Misawa between 1998 and 2000, Angelella commanded one of the group’s squadrons, the 13th Fighter Squadron. And Angelella, a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, took over command of the 20th Fighter Wing at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., from Rew in 2003.

In the ceremony’s opening remarks, Wright congratulated Rew on a job well done, from overseeing the bulk of combat capability upgrades to the wing’s 40 F-16CJs to the base this year being named “best in the Air Force.” Wright bestowed on Rew the Legion of Merit (second oak cluster) for his stellar leadership and service record as Misawa’s wing commander.

Wright also gave Angelella his full vote of confidence, noting he was a command pilot with more than 3,000 flying hours and that his previous leadership stints at Misawa and Shaw would serve him well in this new job.

“Welcome home,” Wright said. “The 35th Fighter Wing and 5th Air Force is glad to have you back.”

Angelella in his speech said he looked forward to helping Misawa airmen reach their goals.

“Your duty is to tell me what you need. My duty is to understand it and get it,” he said.

Angelella most recently served in Casteau, Belgium, as executive officer to the commander of Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe, under the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. In addition to his wife, Marci, he’s joined at Misawa by son Tony and daughter Mia.

Rew heads to Nellis Air Force Base, Nev., to command the 57th Wing.

author picture
Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up