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U.S. Forces Japan to have new commander, Indo-Pacific Command says

U.S. Forces Japan to have new commander, Indo-Pacific Command says
Air Force Maj. Gen. Ricky Rupp will be the new commander of U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force. Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force

Aug. 19 (UPI) -- U.S. Forces Japan and 5th Air Force will have a new leader Aug. 27, according to Indo-Pacific Command, Stars and Stripes said Thursday.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Ricky Rupp will be promoted to lieutenant general before assuming the dual-hatted commands at Yokota Air Base, in western Tokyo, the Indo-Pacific Command said.

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President Joe Biden nominated Rupp on Aug. 2 for the promotion to lieutenant general to receive the dual assignments, the Department of Defense announced in a statement.

Rupp has been serving in a dual role as commander of the Air Force District of Washington and the 320th Air Expeditionary Wing, headquartered at Joint-Base Andrews, Md., according to his biography.

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The Air Force District of Washington position includes responsibility for organizing, training and equipping combat forces and command-level support for 33,000 military and civilian personnel worldwide.

Rupp also has accumulated more than 4,800 flying hours as a command pilot, including in C-130, C-17 and T-38 aircraft. He gained operational flying experience during operations Desert Shield, Provide Promise, Allied Force, Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.

Before his current roles, he was the director of operations at U.S. Transportation Command headquarters at Scott Air Force Base, Ill. He holds a master's in applied science, aeronautical science, from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Columbus Air Force Base, Miss., along with other post-graduate degrees.

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Rupp will replace Air Force Lt. Gen. Kevin Schneider, who led U.S. Forces Japan since February 2019 and confronted increased tension with China and the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Forces Japan conducts operations and actions in Japan to support U.S. Indo-Pacific Command with 50,000 U.S. troops stationed there. The 5th Air Force is its component.

Navy Admiral John Aquilino, Indo-Pacific Command chief, will preside over the U.S. Forces of Japan change of command, and Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach, Pacific Air Forces commander, will preside over the 5th Air Force change of command, Indo-Pacific Command told Stars and Stripes.

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