JOINT BASE PEARL HARBOR-HICKAM, Hawaii -- Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy assumed command of Pacific Air Forces July 12 during a ceremony here.
Presiding over the ceremony, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein expressed confidence in O’Shaughnessy as the new commander of PACAF.
“General TJ O'Shaughnessy is part of an elite group of the finest Airmen and joint warfighters our service has ever produced,” Goldfein said. “He brings the perfect blend of vast operational expertise, relevant Pacific experience, and proven combat leadership necessary to take PACAF to even greater heights.”
Upon receiving the PACAF flag from Goldfein, O’Shaughnessy received his first salute as the new PACAF commander and conveyed his thanks before the gathered crowd.
“Thank you for your trust and confidence and the opportunity to lead the 46,000 Airmen and their families who call PACAF their home,” O’Shaughnessy said. “Our nation’s senior leaders have said the Indo-Asia-Pacific region is the ‘single most consequential region’ for American’s future, and I’m excited to continue our nation’s rebalance to the Pacific.”
During the ceremony, O’Shaughnessy addressed the U.S. Pacific Command commander, Adm. Harry B. Harris Jr., and fellow component commanders, highlighting the vital relationship between airpower and the joint mission.
“I’m honored to have a seat at the table with my fellow component commanders. Each of our components bring a unique capability to Adm. Harris as our joint commander, but the synergistic effect of the joint force only comes fully to bear when we seamlessly integrate our capabilities to face our enemies or respond to contingencies. I look forward to working closely with each component to maximize the application of our combat power,” said O’Shaughnessy.
Harris said O'Shaughnessy's record of leadership in a joint setting and service on the Korean Peninsula and in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region brings to PACAF the right level of experience and awareness of the unique challenges the command faces as it provides USPACOM with air power options.
“His experiences have prepared him well for this assignment,” Harris said. “I have no doubt that he’s up to the challenge of component command in one of the most challenging and dynamic areas of the world.”
Lastly, O’Shaughnessy pledged his commitment to support PACAF Airmen and their families as they continue to execute the command’s mission.
“I want to say thank you to the PACAF Airmen and your families – you are the reason PACAF is strong. You are the innovative fuel that makes the U.S. Air Force the strongest Airpower machine in the world. No matter the obstacles we face, you are the reason we will always prevail as we fly, fight and win in the Pacific.”
Prior to his assumption of PACAF, O’Shaughnessy played a pivotal role in the partnership between the U.S. and Republic of Korea as the Deputy Commander, United Nations Command Korea; Deputy Commander, U.S. Forces Korea; Commander, Air Component Command, Republic of Korea/U.S. Combined Forces Command; and Commander, 7th Air Force at Osan Air Base, ROK.
As PACAF commander, he now leads Airmen throughout an area of responsibility that covers more than 100 million square miles and extends from the west coast of the United States to the east coast of Africa and from the Arctic to the Antarctic.
Gen. Lori J. Robinson relinquished command of PACAF May 11 before becoming the commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command in Colorado. Following Robinson’s departure, Lt. Gen. Russell J. Handy was appointed to command PACAF until Gen. O’Shaughnessy was confirmed by the Senate and assumed command. Handy resumes his previous duties as commander of Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Region, Alaskan Command, and Eleventh Air Force, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska