An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Home : Media : News : News Article View
NEWS | Feb. 13, 2024

PACAF welcomes new commander

By Tech. Sgt. Jimmie D. Pike, Pacific Air Forces

Gen. Kevin B. Schneider took the reins as the new Pacific Air Forces commander during a change of command ceremony here, Feb. 9, 2024.

Schneider succeeds Gen. Ken Wilsbach, who commanded PACAF since July 2020 as the third-longest tenured commander in PACAF’s nearly 80-year history.

U.S. Air Force Chief of Staff, Gen. David W. Allvin, presided over the change of command, noting the command’s importance in the world today.

“We are committed to maintaining a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific, but our pacing challenge consistently threatens regional interests, negatively impacting security, sovereignty, and prosperity,” said Allvin. “I know Gen. Schneider assumes command with his eyes wide open to this contrasting strategic approach and I know he will continue to propel the PACAF team forward to meet the challenges of the future.”

Schneider returns to the Indo-Pacific having spent 12 years of his nearly 36-year career in the region, most recently serving in theater as the U.S. Forces Japan and Fifth Air Force commander from February 2019 to August 2021.

“PACAF Airmen are on the front lines of our reoptimization efforts,” said Allvin. “Adding Gen. Schneider’s leadership and extensive experience in the Pacific will not only benefit them, but also our valued Allies and partners across the region.”

As the 37th COMPACAF, Schneider oversees 46,000 Airmen across the Indo-Pacific, serving principally in Japan, South Korea, Hawaii, Alaska, and Guam. The region accounts for nearly 60 percent of global Gross Domestic Product, two-thirds of global economic growth, five of the world’s nuclear powers, and seven of the ten largest militaries.

“To the men and women of Pacific Air Forces – officers, enlisted, civilians – it is the honor of a lifetime to be part of this team once again,” said Schneider. “I am fortunate to have been assigned in the Pacific for a third of my career, and it feels like home to me.”

Schneider also shared his vision for PACAF Airmen, spread across nine major Air Force installations and three Numbered Air Forces, to continue integrating with Allies and partners.

“The actions we take to ensure stability and deter aggression in the face of multiple growing challenges will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts,” said Schneider. “But we do not do this work alone. The Allied and partner air forces we team with in the Indo-Pacific grow stronger and more capable each day.”

He additionally highlighted his priorities, which include caring for people, ensuring force readiness, and driving modernization, all of which are included in the PACAF 2030 strategy.

“This is a time of great consequence for the Air Force and the nation, and much is resting on the shoulders of PACAF Airmen,” said Schneider. “But I have absolute faith in the abilities of our Airmen to do the hard work, to solve the tough issues, and to continue to deter those who attempt to undermine peace and stability.”

The event was also attended by many distinguished guests including: the Honorable Kristyn Jones, Under Secretary of the Air Force, and her spouse, Mr. Harry Jones; Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, and his spouse, Ms. Laura Aquilino; Gen. Schneider’s spouse, Ms. Lori Schneider; Gen. Wilsbach’s spouse, Ms. Cindy Wilsbach; Chief Master Sgt. David R. Wolfe, outgoing PACAF command chief, and his spouse, Dr. Doniel Wolfe; and Chief Master Sgt. Kathleen McCool, the new PACAF command chief and her spouse, Chief Master Sgt. (Air Force, retired) Christopher McCool.

Gen. Wilsbach departs the Pacific after devoting more than 20 years of leadership and service in the region. At the end of February, he will become the Air Combat Command commander at Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia.

Admiral Aquilino expressed gratitude for Wilsbach’s dedication throughout his time in command.

“Gen. Wilsbach’s leadership over the past three years has set the stage for continued progress and successes for the air component in the Pacific,” said Aquilino. “With his focus on enhancing warfighting advantage, we’ve seen significant strides in ACE and maritime interdiction capabilities. Your leadership brought forth a lethal edge of our air domain that will deter future attacks.”

Wilsbach’s command was a storied one, having recently hosted the largest-ever Pacific Air Chiefs Symposium, which demonstrated the breadth and depth of relationships built between partner countries, developing the PACAF Strategy 2030, and expanding ACE capabilities.

“Having spent more than 20 years of my career in the Pacific supporting this mission, it’s been my true honor to serve as the PACAF commander,” said Wilsbach. “I am proud to pass my responsibilities to Gen. Schneider knowing he will continue to increase our joint and combined capabilities to deter aggression in the Pacific.”


Like Us
Follow Us



USINDOPACOM Commander Travels to Australia
Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander, U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, speaks with Michael Fullilove, Executive Director at the Lowy Institute in Sydney on April 9, 2024. The engagement was part of a trip to Australia focused on increasing cooperation and military integration as part of the strong bilateral relationship. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class John D. Bellino)
April 9, 2024 - SYDNEY - Adm. John C. Aquilino, commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, visited Canberra and Sydney, Australia from April 7-10, 2024, where he met with senior government and military leaders and participated in think tank...

U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy unite for maritime rescue, emphasizing community ties in FSM
The crew of USCGC Oliver Henry (WPC 1140) rescues three mariners stranded on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia, on April 9, 2024. Watchstanders at Joint Rescue Sub-Center Guam received a distress call from a relative of the three mariners on April 6, 2024, reporting her three uncles departed Polowat Atoll, Chuuk State, Easter Sunday for Pikelot Atoll, approximately 100 nautical miles northwest and had not returned, prompting the search. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)
April 9, 2024 - Three mariners are safe on April 9, 2024, thanks to the coordination of U.S. Coast Guard Forces Micronesia/Sector Guam and the U.S. Navy, after being stranded on Pikelot Atoll, Yap State, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM),...

USINDOPACOM Commander Presents Legion of Merit to Australia Chief of Defence Force
Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, joins Gen. Angus Campbell, Australia Chief of the Defence Force, at a ceremony to present Campbell with the Legion of Merit in Canberra, Australia, on April 8, 2024. The Legion of Merit is the highest accolade that the U.S. can bestow upon a foreign leader; it is reserved for individuals who have shown exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services. USINDOPACOM is committed to enhancing stability in the Indo-Pacific region by promoting security cooperation, encouraging peaceful development, responding to contingencies, deterring aggression and, when necessary, fighting to win. (U.S. Navy photo by Chief Mass Communication Specialist Shannon M. Smith)
April 8, 2024 - CANBERRA, Australia - Adm. John C. Aquilino, Commander of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, presented Gen. Angus Campbell, Australia Chief of Defence Force, with the Legion of Merit, Degree of Commander, at the Russell Office...

AUKUS Defense Ministers' Joint Statement
Graphic intended for use as a placeholder for Statements and Press Releases without accompanying imagery.
April 8, 2024 - Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. seek to maximize the strategic benefits of the AUKUS partnership to support the security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond...

U.S. Coast Guard establishes Marine Safety Unit Saipan
Lt. Justin Miller, commanding officer of Marine Safety Unit Saipan, takes a selfie with assembled guests at a ceremony to formally establish MSU Saipan in Garapan at the American Memorial Park on April 5, 2024. This significant achievement marks a milestone in leadership evolution and responsibility expansion within the U.S. Coast Guard, reflecting steadfast commitment to serving the people of Saipan and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) with unparalleled dedication and excellence. The change is part of an initiative to provide junior officers with increased command opportunities, fostering professional growth and leadership development within the ranks. Eighteen marine safety detachments are converting to marine safety units. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. Justin Miller)
April 8, 2024 - The U.S. Coast Guard officially established Marine Safety Unit (MSU) Saipan in a ceremony in Saipan, Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands, on April 5, 2024...