NEWS | July 17, 2019

U.S. Army Alaska Conducts Change of Command Ceremony

By Spc. Demarco Wills USARAK

JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Alaska -- Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak assumed command of U.S. Army Alaska from Maj. Gen. Mark O'Neil in a change of command ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson's Pershing Field July 16.

In his remarks, the reviewing officer Lt. Gen. Gary Volesky, the commanding general of I Corps and Joint Base Lewis-McChord gave praise to O'Neil's hard work and commitment during his time as the USARAK commander.

He spoke about O'Neil's commitment to Soldier readiness and highlighted his work with the USARAK Sharpshooter program.

Volesky mentioned some of USARAK's contributions to the Army's overall warfighting and training readiness, including Arctic Anvil, the largest Army exercise to take place in Alaska since 2001.

O'Neil stated in his remarks that it was an honor to lead the Soldiers of USARAK.

"I am grateful to have served with each of you," O'Neil said.

In his final remarks, O'Neil challenged the formation to continue to lead, adapt and grow.

Andrysiak returned to USARAK, having served as the 2nd Engineer Brigade commander before its inactivation in 2015.

"It's great to be back in Alaska. It's great to be back familiar ground," said Andrysiak, "We have a large, diverse team," Andrysiak said, "We work alongside our Air Force partners to serve a multifaceted mission."

He complimented the work O'Neil performed during his tenure as the USARAK commander.

"There are not any major changes that need to be made," Andrysiak said, "When I look at my priorities versus his, they look roughly the same and are just written differently."

He stated his focus will continue to be on readiness along with leader development, teamwork, and resilience.

Andrysiak takes command after having served as the U.S. Army Pacific chief of staff.