NEWS | Feb. 5, 2019

General Charles "CQ" Brown Jr., U.S. Forces Japan & 5th Air Force Change of Command Speech As Delivered




For over 75 years, 5th Air Force has provided continuous Air Power to advance U. S. interests in the Indo-Pacific, deter aggression, and respond to contingencies.


In war and during uneasy peace, the U.S. – Japan Alliance has become the linchpin of security in the Indo-Pacific – an important Alliance that will continue well into the future.


In the era of great power competition, PACAF’s approach to the security environment requires agile execution, resilient capabilities, and forward thinking to uphold a free and open Indo-Pacific.


Today, the 15,000 PACAF Airmen assigned to 5th AF continue to deliver air, space and cyberspace capabilities in support of USINDOPACOM objectives, uniting allies and partners in the most consequential region in the world.


To our distinguished guests, members of the diplomatic and consulate corps, government officials, joint partners, Japanese allies, ladies and gentlemen, and Airmen of 5th Air Force…Ohio gozaimasu and thank you for being here today.


This is a special day for Pacific Air Forces as we transfer the responsibility to lead 5th AF and honor two outstanding Airmen–– Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez and Lt. Gen. Kevin “Gumby” Schneider – Airmen that I’ve personally known for over 20 years.


To be called upon to lead Airmen at this level is a humbling responsibility and today’s ceremony reminds us of the service, sacrifice, and dedication we share as Airmen representing our great Nation.


Every leader understands the responsibility of command is significant and the two traits that I observe in the most exceptional commanders are honor and strength. Honor…a matter of integrity, respect, and character and strength…the fortitude to not allow their honor to falter under pressure.


Such is the task of the Commander of 5th Air Force: to lead with honor and strength.

Ladies and gentlemen, our global security environment has changed drastically in recent years, requiring us to focus on long-term strategic competition and our capability to compete, deter, and win in the Indo-Pacific.


Now, more than ever, we need commanders to lead with honor and strength … which is exactly what we’ve seen from Lt Gen Martinez.

I’ve known Jerry since we were Captains. We first met when I was an aide and he was an exec at Charleston Air Force Base and ever since I’ve had full faith and confidence in his honor and strength both as a leader and a commander.


Jerry, you’ve embraced the 5th AF mission…a commitment to the defense of Japan and the Alliance. This commitment is honored everyday by the hard work of Airmen you’ve led to promote regional stability through bilateral operations, advance interoperability and stand ready to respond to crises.


I think Jerry would agree that it has not been a leisurely two years in command. The pace of operations has been demanding and the threat has required constant attention. During this time, Jerry you, and your team, have done amazing things.


Jerry expertly facilitated dialogue and cooperation while ensuring readiness and training of U.S. and Japanese forces through exercises and operations. Some of those discussions have been very important to the Alliance, while enhancing our training, improving our readiness, and increasing our lethality for our Joint Force and our ally Japan.


Jerry teamed with the Koku Jieitai, the Japan Self Air Defense Force, to help establish Japan's first Air Operations Center that will reach initial operational capability in the very near future. This synchronization of operational command and control capabilities sets our alliance up to respond quickly with decisive advantage from cooperation to conflict.


Most significantly, we were honored to have Jerry as the acting Commander of Pacific Air Forces for about three months while he continued to maintain command of 5th Air Force and U.S. Forces Japan. With strength and honor, Jerry led three challenging headquarters in a region our Secretary of Defense identified as his number one priority, and he did so with no loss of mission capability – truly impressive.


Many of these accomplishments were made possible by the love and support from Jerry’s wife, Kim.  The true strength of the military often comes from the families that bear the burden of sacrifice over many years of service. So I’d like to offer a special thanks to you Kim, and your strength during Jerry’s tenure here in Japan. Your participation and support to the international spouse clubs, the many bilateral events in Tokyo helped foster the strong relationship shared between the U.S and Japan.


Jerry and Kim, thank you for your outstanding leadership and commitment to strengthening the U.S. – Japan Alliance. I’m confident the honor and strength you’ve displayed during your tenure will carry over to your next chapter as your retire from our Air Force…Sharene and I wish both of you all the best as you move on to your next chapter.


As we part with one great leadership team, we welcome another to lead 5th Air Force with honor and strength.


Lt. Gen. Kevin “Gumby” Schneider joins our PACAF team today, along with his wife Lori and their two daughters, Anneliese and Abby. I knew of Gumby, being another F-16 pilot, for a number of years, but I did not first meet him until he was the Aide to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force and I was very empathetic because I actually had that job just a few years prior.


Throughout his career, Gumby has demonstrated strength in leadership positions. He’s a combat-experienced pilot with over 3,800 flying hours spanning multiple operations in the Middle East, Europe, and the Pacific. He had the honor of commanding an F-16 squadron in Korea, a multi-national flying training wing in Texas, and an Air Expeditionary Wing in United States Central Command area of responsibility.


One of the strengths Gumby brings with him is an understanding of the Indo-Pacific region 

This is Gumby’s 5th assignment in the Indo-Pacific and his 2nd in Japan.


Coming to us from his previous position as Chief of Staff for U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Gumby understands the joint environment and has first-hand experience working alongside our allies and partners to enhance regional stability and security, which will certainly benefit 5thAF.


Today, Gumby will take command with Lori by his side, ready to meet each opportunity with honor and strength. Sharene and I look forward to working with the both of you ... we know your presence and support will have a powerful impact for years to come.


Gumby, in just a few minutes, 5th Air Force will be in your hands … I look forward to our combined efforts to ensure our lethal, innovative, and interoperable force is Ready, Resilient, and Postured for the Future.


Today, America’s military is in an era of strategic purpose, alert to the realities of a changing world and attentive to the need to protect our values and the countries that stand with us...nations like our ally Japan.


With great power competition now the primary focus of U.S. national security, I challenge the men and women of 5th Air Force to channel your honor and strength, executing to the best of your abilities to: protect our way of life and our realm of ideas; promote a free and open Indo-Pacific; and preserve peace through strength.


I believe every challenge is an opportunity to demonstrate success or to strengthen a relationship.  Together – whether in competition or conflict – the U.S. – Japan alliance will be ready to fly, fight, and win.


Arrigato gozaimasu and God bless.