May 11, 2012 Marine Corps Air Station Futenma, Okinawa, Japan - Landing on the flight line on a cloudy afternoon, Col. Leo A. Falcam Jr., deputy commander of Marine Corps Installations Pacific, taxied to Hangar 456 for the last time.
Marines, family and friends gathered at the hangar on Marine Corps Air Station Futenma May 4 to witness Falcam's retirement.
The attendees included generals and senior leaders from installations throughout Okinawa, who met to offer their congratulations on a career well served.
Born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and raised in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia, Falcam's career started in 1981 with his commissioning.
His first experience on Okinawa came in 1985 when he spent a year with Marine Refueler Transport Squadron 152, Marine Aircraft Group 36, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, III Marine Expeditionary Force, as part of the Marine Corps' unit deployment program.
In 1987, he returned to Okinawa and served in many billets for VMGR-152. "This is a very special place to me," said Falcam. "It has all been fantastic, from the Marines to my Okinawan friends. It has been a wonderful time, a special time."
From 1990 to 1998, Falcam attended the Marine Corps Command and Staff Collage and deployed to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Kenya.
From 1998 to 2000, Falcam returned to Okinawa and was assigned to G-3, operations and training, III MEF, as a current operations officer. During this time, he deployed to Australia and East Timor.
In 2000, Falcam was appointed commanding officer of VMGR-152, and shortly thereafter took command of MCAS Futenma. In 2002, he joined 1st MAW's current operations staff.
From 2003 to 2005, Falcam attended language courses in the states and the Argentine National Defense College in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Falcam returned in 2005 to Okinawa to take command of MCAS Futenma once more.
He later became the chief of staff for Marine Corps Base Camp Butler and Marine Corps Bases Japan.
Following the deactivation of MCBJ, he became the deputy commander of the newly formed MCIPAC.
"Each time I have been out here, I have been able to work with some outstanding professionals," said Falcam. "It is thanks to them that I had success."
During the ceremony, Falcam was presented the Legion of Merit medal, a certificate of commendation from Commander in Chief President Barack Obama and letters of appreciation from both the Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. James F. Amos and the Commanding General of MCIPAC and MCB Camp Butler, Maj. Gen. Peter J. Talleri.
"Today is a glorious day," said Talleri. "Today, a great Marine and a great friend retires after over 30 years of service to his country."
MCIPAC is better because of Falcam, said Talleri. The Marines of this command say thank you for everything that Falcam gave to the Corps and his country.
"This will be an exciting place to be in the future," said Falcam. "That means to be ready. Not paranoid, just ready; and the MEF is well postured to be ready."