UNRELEASED | Oct. 25, 2010
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Lieutenant General Burton M. Field assumed command of U.S. Forces, Japan, and Fifth Air Force during a Change of Command ceremony held here today.
Field, the former Senior Advisor to the U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan/Pakistan, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., replaced Lieutenant General Edward A. Rice Jr., who will assume duties as the next Commander, Air Education and Training Command, Randolph Air Force Base, Texas.
Admiral Robert F. Willard, commander, U.S. Pacific Command and General Gary L. North, commander, Pacific Air Forces, were present to officiate at the ceremony.
In his speech, Rice spoke about the contributions of the U.S. Forces, Japan service members and civilians have made in strengthening the U.S. – Japan alliance.
"I want to thank all the members of the United States forces in Japan who have played an incalculable role in defending Japan and ensuring there is peace and stability in this part of the world," Rice said. "What you have done, and what you are doing, impacts the lives of millions and millions of people and it has been my great honor to have served alongside such splendid professionals."
Upon assuming command Field pledged his commitment to furthering the U.S.-Japan Alliance.
"You have my pledge to work closely on the important issues of the day; across the spectrum of important areas from DPRI, to interoperability, to improved coordination and cooperation, to BMD (Ballistic Missile Defense); to the myriad of other issues we must solve in order to meet those future challenges," Field said. "You have my pledge to work closely with you to improve our great Alliance and we will ensure our men and women stand alert, ready, and able to respond to the challenges that arise and to support our efforts in the future."