Former Devils Lake man assumes command in Pacific

Louise Oleson
The Erickson family has embarked upon a new adventure

Brian Erickson is a 1991 graduate of Devils Lake High School and the son of Chuck and Betty Jo Erickson, Devils Lake.

One week ago, on June 26, in a ceremony held in Atsugi, Japan he assumed command of the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance force in the Western Pacific.

One month following high school graduation, Erickson left Devils Lake, he had been accepted at the U.S. Naval College at Annapolis, Md. and graduated from there in 1995.

He was commissioned in 1995 as a naval officer.

One summer while he was on leave from the  Naval Academy, he met his wife-to-be, Erika, on a camping trip in Detroit Lakes, Minn. She was studying to become a nurse, living in New Orleans and he was headed to flight school in Pensacola, Fla.

They were wed in 2000 and have three children: Liam is going into the eighth grade, Finn, going into sixth grade and Addison going into fourth grade.

Erickson says his growing up years were all pretty much right here in Devils Lake. He attended Prairie View Elementary School where he had the same first grade teacher that his mother had. His own children’s lives, however, have been very different from his childhood. They have lived in Hawaii, Maine, San Diego, Washington, D.C., Memphis and now in Japan.

“I’ve been to every continent and across every ocean, seen a lot of things since I left home, but to my kids Devils Lake is one of the best places on earth,” Erickson said.

The Ericksons return to Devils Lake every year and enjoy water skiing and fishing with family.

The Ericksons will stay in Japan for two years living on the base, which is an airfield a 40-minute train ride from Tokyo.

Erickson is now in charge of a vast area which includes the Arctic, the North Atlantic, the Indian Ocean, to the Philippines and Indonesia to Hawaii.

“Our job is to provide a credible deterrent to avoid conflict and to maintain the freedom of the seas. We are to defend U.S. interests in the Western Pacific,” Erickson said.

In his speech made at the change of command ceremony on June 26 in Japan Erickson stated, “Acknowledged by the ‘Rebalance to the Pacific,’ this theater remains the most dynamic and important region in the world. In the current geopolitical climate, the Maritime Patrol and Reconnaissance Force remains in high demand. Expeditionary and agile, we are the 911 reconnaissance force for the 7th Fleet Commander. Enabled by the dedicated maintenance, supply and logistics professionals of Fleet Air Forward, as a team, we are ready at a moment’s notice to put eyes on target. What is known today is that the future is uncertain. Every day in the Pacific is game day and we need to be ready ... ready to execute every mission set, to support our allies and to deter aggression, to preserve access to the global commons through presence and strategic resolve.”