USFJ gets new commander after Dolan leaves for Pentagon
By LEON COOK | STARS AND STRIPES Published: October 7, 2016
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez assumed command of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force on Thursday.
Martinez takes over for Lt. Gen. John Dolan, who departed for the Pentagon in early August. Martinez previously served as director of operations for Air Mobility Command at Scott Air Force Base, Ill.
“I will do my best to keep this alliance as strong as it can possibly be,” Martinez told a ceremony at Yokota in western Tokyo. “Whether you are in U.S. Forces Japan or 5th Air Force, know that I will pledge something that I pledge every time I have been in command, and that is that I will do my best to take care of you and your families.”
Adm. Harry B. Harris, head of U.S. Pacific Command, emphasized the importance of USFJ’s mission.
“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,” Harris told the gathering. “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 said. “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.”
While ISIL and Iran aren’t technically “in the neighborhood,” Iran has reportedly been cooperating with North Korea on nuclear weapons and missile technology, and ISIL has reportedly been trying to carve out a foothold in the region.
Dolan relinquished command on Aug. 4 after being appointed director of operations of the Joint Staff at the Pentagon. Gen. Charles Chiarotti, USFJ’s deputy commander, served as interim commander until Martinez was confirmed.