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Air Force pilot Erickson Gloria is new military commander guarding West PH Sea

A decorated tactical and rescue pilot from the Air Force is the new military commander in Palawan, whose primary mission includes safeguarding the West Philippine Sea.

Lieutenant General Erickson Gloria, previously The Deputy Chief of Staff (TDCS) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), took the helm of the AFP Western Command (Wescom) on Thursday, May 28.

Gloria took over from the Navy’s Vice Admiral Rene Medina, who retired after leading Wescom for almost 14 months. A change-of-command ceremony was held at Camp General Artemio Ricarte in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan.

A member of the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) “Maringal” Class of 1988, Gloria holds a command pilot rating in the Philippine Air Force. Early in his military career, he was awarded different aircrew qualifications ranging from pilot, element lead, flight commander, test pilot, and instructor pilot for the UH-1H and Bell 205 helicopters.

Gloria also qualified as a pilot of the Sikorsky S-76A, logging more than 2,500 accident-free flight hours. For this, he was awarded the Command Pilot Badge.

His other earlier posts include Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, J1, Wing Commander of the 205th Tactical Helicopter Wing, Deputy Commander of the Air Mobility Command, and Deputy Commander of the Air Logistics Command.

Gloria also previously commanded Search and Rescue air squadrons in Palawan and General Santos City.

Other new appointments

Replacing Gloria as AFP TDCS is Lieutenant General Antonio Ramon Lim, previously the AFP Inspector General.

Taking over as AFP Inspector General is Major General Franco Nemecio Gacal, previously the Commander of the Philippine Army’s 4th Infantry Division (PA 4ID) in based in Eastern Mindanao.

Gacal is Gloria’s classmate from the PMA Maringal Class of 1988.

Replacing Gacal as commander of the PA 4ID is Major General Andres Centino, also from PMA Class ’88. He was previously the AFP Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3.

The new Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations, J3, is Major General Edgardo de Leon, erstwhile Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil Military Operations, J7.

Taking De Leon’s place as J7 chief is Brigadier General Benedict Arevalo, the former Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Education and Training, AJ8.

“The reliefs and designations [of officers] are integral to and part of the dynamism of the uniformed services. The AFP ensures that it puts the right person on the right job who will carry out our mandate no matter what assignment is put upon their shoulders,” AFP chief General Felimon Santos Jr said in a statement. – Rappler.com

JC Gotinga

JC Gotinga often reports about the West Philippine Sea, the communist insurgency, and terrorism as he covers national defense and security for Rappler. He enjoys telling stories about his hometown, Pasig City. JC has worked with Al Jazeera, CNN Philippines, News5, and CBN Asia.

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