MCAS Futenma CO retires after 25 years
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, OKINAWA, Japan -- Col. James G. Flynn celebrated his retirement July 11 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma after 25 years of service.
Flynn served as the commanding officer of MCAS Futenma from 2011 to 2014. During the ceremony, Flynn was awarded the Legion of Merit and a certificate of appreciation from the President of the United States.
“The (Legion of Merit) citation barely scratches the surface of all the underlying actions that this commander and his Marines and sailors executed over the last three years,” said Maj. Gen. Charles L. Hudson, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler. “(Flynn’s) support for 1st Marine Aircraft Wing has been absolutely superb. His support as an installation commander has been equally superb.”
Flynn, a Virginia Tech graduate, was commissioned a second lieutenant in 1989. He was designated a Naval Aviator in 1991 as a CH-46E Sea Knight pilot.
Flynn’s personal decorations include the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal (third award), Air Medal for Individual Action (second award), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal (third award), the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and the Combat Action Ribbon.
Marines, sailors, American and Okinawan civilian supporters, including prominent memers of the local community such as Ginowan City Mayor Atsushi Sakima, all attended the ceremony to show their support for Flynn and his accomplishments.
“As I look around the audience, I would suggest his finest feat has been the strengthening of the relationships between his command and Mayor Sakima and the local surrounding communities,” said Hudson. “After 13 months of observation, he is most definitely a man of character and a man of integrity.”
During his time in command, MCAS Futenma had no ground or air Class-A mishaps and no lost man-hours due to injuries, according to the Air Station Safety office.
The retirement ceremony was preceded by the change of command for the air station, during which Col. Peter N. Lee assumed command from Flynn.
“For me to be a Marine is a special privilege, but to command is a special privilege and a tremendous responsibility,” said Lee. “When I look around this crowd, I realize that (Flynn’s) legacy will last long after (he’s) gone, after all the things (he’s) done and accomplished over the last three years. Fair winds and following seas to the Flynn family.”
During his retirement ceremony, Flynn took thanked people who have helped, supported and served under him, including Marines, sailors, and representatives from the local community, government officials, and the Ginowan police. He expressed his gratitude to his fellow commanders, commanding generals, support staff, and, most importantly, to his family.
“It’s been a true honor and privilege to be in command for three years,” said Flynn. “This has been the most rewarding tour that I have ever had.”