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Iverson continues “legacy of excellence” as new 7th Air Force commander

  • Published
  • By Maj. Rachel Buitrago
  • 7th Air Force Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. David R. Iverson accepted command of the Seventh Air Force and United Nations Command’s Air Component Command and accepted responsibility as the deputy commander of the United States Forces Korea from Lt. Gen. Scott L. Pleus during a ceremony today at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea.

Iverson joined the Seventh Air Force from his previous assignment as the Director of the Air and Cyberspace Operations for Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii. He is an F-15E and F-15SG pilot who has flown more than 5,400 hours and has served several times in the Indo-Pacific theater of operations.

Lt. Gen. James A. Jacobson, Pacific Air Force deputy commander, recognized the wealth of experience Iverson brought to this position from his 32 years of service in his comments during the ceremony.

“Over the past two years, [Iverson] has taken the time to know the Indo-Pacific… He’s a strategic thinker with a brilliant mind. He is a battle-tested warrior at every level, whether that be with 1,500 combat hours in an F-15E, commanding two separate Wings, [or] commanding the 609th Air Operation Center in Qatar; he has what it takes to be ready to ‘Fight Tonight,’” Jacobson said, referencing the 7th Air Force mission.

Jacobson also recognized the significance of the position to the lieutenant general personally, as Iverson’s father, Lt. Gen. Ronald Iverson, served as the 7th Air Force commander from 1994 to 1997.

“Your newest commander is from a legacy of excellence in Korea,” Jacobson said, addressing the formation of service members and guests in attendance.  

As tradition dictates, the passing of the flags occurred in front of the men and women of the 7th AF and Air Component Command, including personnel from the 607th Air Operations Center, 607th Air Support Operations Group, 51st Fighter Wing, 8th Fighter Wing, and the U.S. Army 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, to signify the change of authority from one commander to the other. They represented the more than 8,900 Total Force Airmen and Soldiers that Iverson will command in this new position.

Gen. Paul LaCamera, commander, United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command, and United States Forces Korea, presided over the change of command of the UNC Air Component Command and the change of responsibility for Iverson as the deputy commander of USFK. 

LaCamera praised Pleus for his leadership within UNC and of the 7th AF, before welcoming Iverson to the position.

“The 7th Air Force is my source of dominant Airpower and I’m grateful to our outgoing Commander Lt. Gen. Scott ‘Rolls’ Pleus for his leadership,” LaCamera said. “Our mission here in Korea is to maintain the Armistice, deter north Korean aggression, and if required, fight and win. Under the leadership of these two leaders the 7th Air Force has been, and will always be, ready to ‘Fight Tonight’ and win.”

Jacobson further expounded on the importance of the 7th Air Force heritage and mission in his final comments. 

“Through the 7th Air Force, the United States Air Force and the Republic of Korea Air Force] live and breathe ‘katchi kapshida.’ We fly from the same airfields, we fly side-by-side in F-16s, we sit side-by-side in the Air Operations Center, and we trace our partnership back seventy years as we defend the Republic of Korea’s freedom.”

Pleus concluded his term as the longest serving 7th Air Force commander, having been in the position for more than three years and seven months. He departs for his next assignment as Director of Staff, U.S. Air Force, Pentagon, Washington D.C.

“The last three and a half years has been our assignment of choice, enjoying the rich culture, the delicious cuisine, and serving alongside the friendship of the Korean people,” Pleus said. “We cannot thank you enough.”  

While this assignment marks the first time in his military career that Iverson has been assigned to the Republic of Korea, this is not his first time that the lieutenant general has served on the Korean peninsula. 

“I’ve been to the Republic of Korea many times during my career and we are excited to now be here full time,” said Iverson. “The mood, moral and professionalism of the Airmen and families on the peninsula is unmatched.”

“Our steadfast dedication, forged of the shared sacrifice has built a common bond between us, and led to those deep and lasting friendships,” Iverson continued, closing the ceremony. “Serving here, standing beside all of you, protecting the freedom and democracy of our nations is truly an honor. It’s a privilege for us to serve the Airmen of the 7th Air Force, our joint partners, and our Korean allies. We can’t wait to get started.”