USFJ, 5 AF commander visits Misawa
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japn -- Lt. Gen. John Dolan met with Misawa Air Base personnel and local government officials, and had his first flight here during a three-day long visit, June 30 through July 2.
This marks the general's first visit to Misawa since assuming command of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force.
As the 5th Air Force commander, Dolan ensures Misawa's 35th Fighter Wing, the 18th Wing out of Kadena Air Base, and the 374th Air Wing at Yokota Air Base, are each mission ready to meet the Pacific Air Force's Air Component Commander's intent.
"That includes making sure that the 35th Fighter Wing has all it needs to meet those mission needs, both from a combat readiness perspective and also having the facilities to support the mission and families," said Dolan.
Dolan added that the 35 FW's suppression of enemy air defense mission is "world renowned," and needed around the world every day.
As the USFJ commander, Dolan is the senior U.S. military representative in Japan and commander of all Air Force units within the country. Dolan's focus is to continue enhancing and strengthening the U.S. and Japan alliance while building on the relationships the countries have in both the military and civilian sectors.
"One of the things that makes us so great is our people - not just our Air Force team, but also our Japanese partners outside the gate," he said.
Misawa was the general's first duty station from 1988-1992, during which he was a pilot assigned to the 13th Fighter Squadron under the 432nd Fighter Wing. While flying a mission on Jan. 23, 1992, Dolan's F-16C collided with another aircraft, which required then Captain Dolan to eject 680 nautical miles from Tokyo into the Pacific Ocean. Hours later he was saved by members of the Japan Maritime Defense Force, and he has remained friends with his rescuers ever since.
To Dolan, the relationship between the U.S. and Japan is just as important now as it was more than 20 years ago.
He stressed how fortunate it is to have a host nation that respects the American forces here, and explained the affects negative behavior will have on the long-standing alliance between the two countries.
"We can strain that relationship if we're not careful with our behavior off base, so we always have to be cognizant that it's not a right that we have this alliance, it's a privilege and it can be lost and degraded at any time," he said.
Bringing the focus back to Misawa Airmen, Dolan highlighted the robust list of awards Misawa personnel have earned in the last year. He explained that each member here had a hand in these achievements during an all call, July1.
"These awards are not individual awards, but they are on the backs of each and every one of you for accomplishing the mission," he said. "I'm extremely impressed with the professionalism I see and how you have worked to keep the mission going and provide for your families despite the heavy demand for deployments and TDYs. Your actions while at home and deployed do not go unnoticed.
"It's an honor to be able to call myself an Airman with you and it's an incredible honor to serve along your side," added Dolan.