USFJ Commander visits Kadena Published Jan. 31, 2008 By Tech. Sgt. Rey Ramon 18th Wing Public Affairs KADENA AB, Japan -- The commander of U.S. Forces Japan discussed America's commitment to the U.S. - Japan security alliance during a visit to Kadena Air Base Jan. 30. The general is retiring later this month after nearly 35 years of active duty service. He visited Kadena to thank Airmen for their service and to reinforce the importance of their mission in a critical region of the world. During General Wright's visit, he had the opportunity to meet with Kadena Airmen who have recently returned from AEF deployments. He also conducted a leadership forum with squadron commanders and met with members of the Kadena Top 3 and other leaders from the Kadena Private Organizations Executive Council. His message throughout the visit was clear and strong: the U.S. - Japan alliance remains the cornerstone of peace and stability in the region. "We remain ready and responsive in support of the alliance, defending Japan across a wide range of military contingencies and I think we accomplish our mission very effectively," he said. "We have built an increased level of inoperability between our two militaries and I know we are well prepared to respond to the security challenges that this region is known for." The USFJ commander, who was stationed at Kadena from 1978 to 1979 as an F-4C "Wild Weasel" instructor pilot, said that American forces and their allies face a daunting operating environment across the Asia-Pacific Region, but that the men and women of USFJ are up to the challenge. "From earthquake to conflict we're much more ready to carry out missions directed by our senior elected U.S. and Japanese leaders.", he said. Committed to strengthening the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance, General Wright has focused on improving the interoperability of the two nation's military forces. He praised the growing role that Japan's Self Defense Force is playing in its own security. "I applaud the capabilities of the Japanese Defense Force," said General Wright. The JASDF [Japan Air Self Defense Force] has become more interoperable and more capable, he added. General Wright highlighted the importance of U.S. military organizations establishing bonds with local communities based on common values and objectives for the alliance. "Being good neighbors around our military installations is a powerful contribution to strengthening this alliance," he said. Above all, General Wright took the opportunity to praise today's leaders, enlisted and officer, and their ability to accomplish difficult missions while taking the U.S. military to a level of readiness unprecedented in its history. "My pride centers on our military force, and I hope I have been able to empower them," he added. He noted that more responsibility than ever before is being placed upon the shoulders of junior officer and enlisted members throughout the military, and they are answering the call. "We expect and we see exemplary unwavering professionalism," he said. "You lifted up your hand to support and defend the constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic and that includes commitment to the highest levels of professionalism you show the world every day from here in Japan." As the general prepares to retire, he reminded Kadena Airmen of their critical role in maintaining peace and security in the region. "We have a tough mission here in the Asian Pacific region, a mission that cannot fail as Kadena continues to be the 'Keystone of the Pacific'."