Former F-16 fighter pilot named Pacific Air Forces commander

U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr., U.S. Air Forces Central Command commander, talks with Airmen assigned to the 455th Expeditionary Security Forces Squadron at Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, July 25, 2015. Brown met with Airmen from BAF and Kandahar Airfield during his tour of Afghanistan and got a first-hand look at how Airmen support the mission in Afghanistan. (U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford/Released)

William Cole
The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

A former F-16 fighter pilot who later had key roles in Libya operations and the air war against the Islamic State took command of Pacific Air Forces on Thursday at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown Jr. received his fourth star and took over the command, which includes nearly 60 percent of the world’s population, 52 percent of Earth’s surface, 46,000 military and civilian personnel, 320 assigned fighter and attack aircraft — and challenges from China, North Korea and Russia.

“I am extremely honored, I’m truly blessed and I’m extremely proud to stand before you this morning as the commander of Pacific Air Forces,” Brown, known as “CQ,” told more than 600 airmen, officials and guests in one of the historic hangars on base.

Some of the airpower resident in Hawaii was arrayed outside the hangar, including an F-22 Raptor, KC-135R refueler and C-17 cargo aircraft, while several A-10 “Warthog” close-air support aircraft visiting for Rim of the Pacific exercises were farther afield.

The native Texan was previously deputy commander for U.S. Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida. Brown has more than 2,900 flight hours, including 120 combat hours.

“He’s a combat-proven leader supporting multiple operations to include effective execution of the Libya operation when he was the 31st Fighter Wing commander in Italy,” Air Force Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Stephen Wilson said. “He’s also most likely known for his recent role as the operational architect leading and managing the air war that decimated the Islamic State.”

Pacific Air Forces now has in command one of the top team builders, war-fighting experts, leaders and warriors in the Air Force, Wilson said.

Lt. Gen. Jerry Martinez was interim commander after Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy left in May.

Adm. Phil Davidson, head of U.S. Indo-Pacific Command at Camp H.M. Smith, acknowledged the “great work” that the Air Force accomplished over the past few years, including “rethinking and redefining operational methods of how Pacific Air Forces will fight and win in a high-end environment.”

China and Russia are priorities in a national defense strategy in which the re-emergence of long-term strategic competition to U.S. prosperity and security is a central challenge, Davidson said.

There “is no doubt that in our military, and in Indo-

Pacific Command, our job is still to be able to fight and win,” Davidson said. “But to be truly effective across the continuum of conflict, (U.S. forces) must find new ways to compete below the threshold of armed conflict and convince these revisionist powers, dissuade them, from solving their aspirations or solving their disappointments through conflict.”


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