The commander of U.S. forces in Japan is an Idahoan, and today he made several presentations to lawmakers at the state capitol. Here’s S-R reporter Parker Howell’s report:
Idaho native Lt. Gen. Bruce "Orville" Wright, commander of U.S. military forces in Japan, praised cooperation between the United States and Japan against potential East Asian threats during presentations to lawmakers Monday. An F-16 fighter pilot raised in Castleford, Idaho, Wright now commands about 50,000 troops. His force sits across the sea from more than 2 million potential "bad guys" in China and 1 million real bad guys in North Korea, he said. "They do not share our values for a better world, necessarily," he said of Chinese leaders. Led by Kim Jong Il, North Korea has ballistic missiles capable of hitting Japan and doing a lot of damage in dense urban areas, and Il has the ability to destabilize Pacific East Asia and cause far-reaching economic instability, Wright told lawmakers. "The defense of America starts in Japan," he said.
Wright said he's never forgotten the vistas or independent spirit of Idaho during his nearly 40-year career in the Air Force. He thanked members of the House Transportation and Defense Committee Monday for their leadership. "What you have done is take on the challenges of making this nation the greatest nation in the world, enduring," he said. "Believe me, there's a lot of bad guys out there that would take us down in a minute. We let them in the room, they will take every one of us out in a New York second."