Home : Media : News : News Article View

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Change of Command

By Cpl. Andrew Jones | Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan | Aug. 23, 2019

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, (Aug. 23, 2019) -- U.S. Marine Corps Col. Richard Fuerst, the offgoing MCAS Iwakuni commanding officer, relinquished command to Col. Lance Lewis, the MCAS Iwakuni commanding officer, during a ceremony held at MCAS Iwakuni, Aug. 22, 2019.

The ceremony took place in one of the air station’s hangars in front of, MCAS Iwakuni residents, Japanese employees, service members, and Japanese and American news reporters from 15 different media outlets.

Fuerst took command of MCAS Iwakuni in July of 2016 and oversaw major transformations to the base. A few examples of these transformations were: a satellite housing facility on the nearby Atago mountain, a new medical facility, the largest Marine Corps Exchange in the Marine Corps, and an expansion of the flight line into the Seto Inland Sea.

Fuerst welcomed the Sailors of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 5 to the air station as they transferred their homeport from Naval Air Facility Atsugi to Iwakuni. With the addition of CVW-5 and the existing Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Fleet Air Wing 31, the air station became a truly bilateral, joint facility.

“To sum it up in one word I would say change was the big thing that happened here,” said Fuerst. “Certainly, Col. Boucher handed me an air station that was performing very, very well. But a lot of change was about to happen. On my watch over the last three years we saw the population increase by about 3,500 people. CVW-5 arrived, the F-35 and the E-2D and just a lot of change occurred while I was here. It’s been very fun and exciting, frustrating at times, but it has gone well thanks to the Marines, Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, U.S. civil service (employees) and Japanese nationals that support the base.”

Fuerst will go on to serve as the director of operations for Marine Corps Installations Command.

Lewis spoke to all those in attendance after officially taking charge of the air station.

“There is 7 billion dollars into this air station,” said Lewis. “Make no mistake ladies and gentleman, this is the most important installation in all of the Department of Defense and certainly the newest. Take a look outside right there, see the aircraft and the buildings. The building that you’re in right now, all brand new. We have jets, brick and mortar and it’s a lot of combat capability. As we all know jets, brick and mortar do not win wars. It’s people who win wars. To the Marines, Sailors, soldiers, our civilians and Japanese partners that bring the combat power of this air station together- I am humbled and honored to be your commanding officer.”

This is not Lewis’s first time in Japan, or even his first time in Iwakuni. He previously served as the Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron commanding officer from 2012 to 2014 and mentioned during the ceremony that his move to Iwakuni was somewhat of a homecoming.
Lewis came to MCAS Iwakuni from the United Kingdom’s (UK) Permanent Joint Headquarters as the lead planner for UK military activity in the Middle East.

His personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with gold star, the Air Medal-Air Heroic (with star and Combat V), the Air Medal-Strike Flight (with numeral eight), the Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal (with gold star and Combat V), the Navy Marine Corps Achievement Medal (with gold star and Combat V), and the Combat Action Ribbon. Lewis has flown over 3,400 total mishap free flight hours with over 2,800 in the A-D variations of the F/A-18.
CONNECT WITH USINDOPACOM
Facebook

Like Us
Twitter
256,444
Follow Us

ENGAGE & CONNECT MORE WITH PACOM

                                                 

IN THE USINDOPACOM NEWS
U.S. Forces Japan Declares Public Health Emergency for the Kanto Plains Region
U.S. Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Philip Hudson, 7th Air Force command chief, speaks with Senior Airman Oriana Beard, Armed Forces Network broadcaster, during his visit at Kunsan Air Base, Republic of Korea, March 26, 2020. Hudson learned about how the 8th Fighter Wing is ensuring the safety of Airmen on the base while accomplishing the mission.
April 6, 2020 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The U.S. Forces Japan commander announced a Public Health Emergency (PHE)

7th Fleet Commander Arrives in Guam during COVID-19 Recovery
Vice Admiral Bill Merz, commander, U.S. 7th Fleet, meets with the staff and crew of the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71), April 5. Merz arrived in Guam to assess and support the ongoing COVID-19 recovery efforts for the crew of Theodore Roosevelt.
April 6, 2020 - APRA HARBOR, Guam -- The commander of U.S. 7th Fleet visited USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71)

U.S Navy, Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force Operate Together in Andaman Sea
The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10), top, sails alongside the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) Akizuki-class destroyer JS Teruzuki (DD 116) during bilateral operations, April 2, 2020. Gabrielle Giffords, part of Destroyer Squadron Seven, is on a rotational deployment, operating in the U.S. 7th Fleet area of operations to enhance interoperability with partners and serve as a ready-response force.
April 6, 2020 - ANDAMAN SEA -- The Independence-variant littoral combat ship USS Gabrielle Giffords (LCS 10) and the

DOD Continually Examines, Modifies COVID-19 Response
Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs Jonathan Rath Hoffman briefs the media about the Defense Department’s response to COVID-19, at the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., April 3, 2020.
April 6, 2020 - WASHINGTON -- The Defense Department is adjusting to the COVID-19 pandemic and leaders at all levels

Air Force to Make 9th Flight to Deliver Testing Swabs
Air crew from Travis Air Force Base and the 164th Airlift Wing unload COVID-19 testing swabs at the Memphis Air National Guard Base in Memphis, Tennessee, March 19, 2020. Approximately 500,000 testing swabs and supplies were flown from Aviano Air Base, Italy, to the FedEx hub in Memphis, Tennessee, to be distributed to medical facilities across the U.S. The mission follows the first Air Mobility Command-directed mission on March 16-17, which also transported 500,000 testing swabs in support of a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services-led, whole-of-government effort to combat the Coronavirus pandemic. The swabs are produced by the Italian company Copan Diagnostics, Inc., which continues to produce sufficient quantity to satisfy Italian and global requirements. As the U.S. continues to buy these swabs, AMC's active, Reserve, and Air National Guard components are honored to help transport our Italian partner's generous support to help the American people.
April 6, 2020 - WASHINGTON -- The Air Force's Air Mobility Command (AMC) is preparing for a ninth flight next week