35th Fighter Wing Change of Command Ceremony

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Antwain Hanks
  • 35th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

Col. Michael P. Richard relinquished command of the 35th Fighter Wing to Col. Paul T. Davidson during the wing’s official change of command ceremony, at Misawa Air Base, July 8, 2024.

Lt. Gen. Ricky N. Rupp, U.S. Forces Japan, and Fifth Air Force commander, presided over the ceremony.

Richard has served as commander of the 35th FW since June 2022. During this time Richard led the men and women of the 35th Fighter Wing in the execution of their mission to protect American national security interest, defend Japan and American allies and partners, and deter global aggression. Some of his accomplishments under his tenure include supporting multiple strategic level exercises such as Balikatan, Distant Frontier, Red Flag-Alaska, Iron Riptide and Keen Sword.

Additionally, Richard successfully reinvigorated critical cultural events hindered by the pandemic, restoring Japan Day, American Day and Misawa Air Fest to its pre-pandemic heights, further strengthening ties with the community. As a result of these accomplishments Richard was awarded the Legion of Merit service medal prior to departure.

Richard will become the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command deputy chief of staff at Camp H.M. Smith, Hawaii.

“Serving as your wing commander for the past two years has been the honor of my twenty-two-year Air Force career,” said Richard. “Misawa truly is a special place because of our mission, our personal and professional families, and our warriors.”

Prior to assuming command of the 35th FW, Davidson was the 51st FW deputy commander at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea. He played a key role in assisting the Wing Commander in leading more than 5,500 personnel in the Air Force’s most forward, permanently based fighter wing.

After assuming command of Misawa AB, Col. Davidson addressed the audience, emphasizing his priorities for the Japanese community, strengthening friendships and alliances, and developing a culture of warriors and leaders. He added that the strategically important time and place of Misawa in a changing world means that the wing must stay focused on the mission in northern Japan to protect, defend and deter aggression, and if necessary, fight and win.

Everyone of the 35th Fighter Wing bids Col. Richard and his family a fond farewell while also welcoming Col. Davidson and his family to Team Misawa.