JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The Alaska National Guard’s commander-in-chief, Governor Mike Dunleavy, recognized his newly appointed adjutant general, Col. Torrence Saxe, in a change-of-command ceremony at the Alaska National Guard armory here on Dec. 31. In Saxe’s dual-hatted role, he also serves as commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA).
As DMVA commissioner and adjutant general, Saxe is responsible for nearly 4,400 Guard members and state personnel assigned to units in the Alaska Air and Army National Guard and four state divisions. In his new role, Saxe will ensure the DMVA team is equipped, trained and ready to respond to state and federal missions as required. As commissioner, he will develop and coordinate policies, plans and programs for the department, lead with vision and expertise, and focus on meeting the governor’s priorities within the organization.
“You take care of the people and they will take care of the mission,” said Saxe. “It sounds simple, but that’s what you do,” he said.
This is a philosophy Saxe subscribes to that he said hasn’t changed since his first command as a captain when he was stationed in England with the active duty Air Force many years ago. Now, on his seventh command, Saxe said he still embraces this style of leadership because he believes it is the most effective.
In his remarks during the ceremony, Saxe said that the mission of the DMVA is “this we will defend.” He said that protecting and defending is what the DMVA is here for and it’s what the organization will continue to do as its highest priority.
“You have to make sure that you understand where you’re going, have a vision and collaboratively get there,” he said.
Saxe most recently served as commander of the Alaska Air National Guard, presiding over 2,300 Air Guardsmen in the Joint Forces Headquarters Air staff and two wings, located at JBER and Eielson Air Force Base near Fairbanks. As commander, he provided airlift, rescue, aerial refueling, air control, and space warning and surveillance capabilities in support of state and federal missions world-wide.
After entering the U.S. Air Force in 1995 and earning his commission as an officer, Saxe was an instructor and commander in support of the intercontinental ballistic mission and served on staff at Headquarters, Air Force Space Command. He joined the Alaska Air National Guard in 2004 and served in positions at Clear Air Force Station, Eielson AFB, and JBER; and was commander of the 213th Space Warning Squadron, 13th Space Warning Squadron, 176th Maintenance Group and 168th Wing.
DMVA’s divisions include Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Veterans Affairs, Alaska Military Youth Academy, Air and Army National Guard, Naval Militia, State Defense Force and Administrative Services.