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​Gen. CQ Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces, passes the 5th Air Force guidon to the new 5th Air Force commander, Lt. Gen. Kevin B. Schneider, during a change of command ceremony at Yokota Air Base, Japan, Feb. 5, 2019. Schneider took command of 5th Air Force and US Forces Japan at the ceremony. Air Force photo by SrA. Donald Hudson.

Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider took command of US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force from Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez on Tuesday at Yokota AB, Japan.

This is Schneider’s fifth assignment in the region and his second in Japan, and he brings a deep understanding of the area, coming directly from an assignment as chief of staff for US Indo-Pacific Command, noted Gen. CQ Brown, commander of Pacific Air Forces.

Schneider has an “incredible ability” to solve complex problems and a “tremendous understanding” of current challenges in the region, Indo-Pacific Commander Adm. Phil Davidson added.

The US-Japan alliance has been the “cornerstone” of stability in the region “for more than seven decades,” Davidson said, noting that security has endured because of “the willingness and commitment of like-minded nations to work together for a free and open Indo-Pacific, and the credibility of the combat power of the US Indo-Pacific command, working in conjunction with our key ally here in Japan.”

Schneider acknowledged the “clear threats to peace and security in this region,” adding that US Forces Japan and 5th Air Force “must maintain the highest levels of readiness to respond at a moment’s notice to any threat, to any crisis, to any humanitarian disaster.”

Martinez will retire after 33 years of service, and said he is proud to have been the commander, but “truly proud … to have lived in the great country of Japan.”

Brown noted that Martinez has not had a “leisurely two years in command.” Instead, he said, the pace has been “demanding,” and the “threat has required constant attention.”

He is an “inspirational and visionary leader” who was the “right leader at the right time” to lead US Forces Japan, Davidson added.