KADENA AIR BASE, Japan -- Brig. Gen. Case Cunningham relinquished command of Kadena Air Base’s 18th Wing to Brig. Gen. Joel Carey during a change of command ceremony.
Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force commander, presided over the event held inside a hangar where Airmen, Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, and distinguished guests welcomed the new commander.
"Cunningham assumed command of the 18th Wing in July, 2017,” Schneider said. “He has done an absolute world class job as commander, leader and an ambassador for the U.S.- Japan alliance during his time.”
Schneider described that through bilateral training and increased community engagement that Cunningham has developed the U.S.-Japan partnership into one of the most relevant and powerful alliances during a very dynamic time in our nation’s history.
"You should be truly proud of the accomplishments the wing has seen during your tenure,” Schneider said. "After two years of your leadership, you are leaving this wing better than ever.”
Cunningham was selected for reassignment as deputy director for operations, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.
After accepting the guidon from Cunningham, Carey addressed his new family, Team Kadena.
"Mendy and I are blessed to return to this beautiful island that we have called home two previous times over the last 20 years," said Carey.
Carey most recently served as the Commanding General, Train, Advise, Assist Command-Air (TAAC-Air) and Commander, 438th Air Expeditionary Wing, Kabul, Afghanistan. He is a command pilot with more than 3,000 hours, in the F-15C, A-29, F-111, EF-111, T-38C, C-208 and MC-12W aircraft, including over 500 combat hours.
His assignments have included command of an operational fighter squadron, serving as vice commander of two combat wings and commanding a flying training wing. He has deployed in support of operations Deliberate Force, Provide Comfort, Northern Watch, Southern Watch, Enduring Freedom and U.S. Air Forces Central Command’s Theater Security Package.
During his closing remarks, Carey expressed that the U.S. and Japanese partnerships remain as important as ever and continues to serve as a cornerstone to a peaceful, secure, free and open Indo-Pacific.
“The challenges are great, but the opportunities are even greater," Carey said. "I am excited to be back in this region and with this incredible team."