Home : Media : News : News Article View

Alaska National Guard Commander Eyes Regional Hub Concept

By Maj. John Callahan | Alaska National Guard Public Affairs | Oct. 8, 2019

GALENA, Alaska -- Brig. Gen. Torrence Saxe, commander of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, visited this remote Yukon village Oct. 4 as part of a new initiative to strengthen his department’s ties with Alaska’s rural communities.

“For more than a half-century, the Alaska National Guard has played a critical role in responding to natural disasters,” Saxe said. “My goal here is to take our readiness to the next level, and find ways to ensure that our support to rural Alaska remains strong.”

To that end, Saxe has been reaching out to communities with large airfields -- ones that can be used as regional hubs for the movement of personnel and supplies in the event of a natural disaster. Until 1994, Galena was the site of a small U.S. Air Force base, and its airfield is still in good shape.

“I appreciate the visit,” said Galena Mayor Nolan Aloysius. “We are very multicultural here, and when the base here was open, we always had an excellent relationship with the military. We would like to rebuild that, and I look forward to the possibilities I see coming available not just to Galena but to all the villages.”

The mission to Galena is the fourth taken in support of the new initiative -- previous stops included the Southwest Alaska communities of Bethel, Kwethluk and Napaskiak. Saxe’s aides are currently looking at scheduling additional trips to Kodiak, Nome and Utqiagvik.

“To respond quickly and efficiently, we can’t just activate everything at the last minute and hope nothing goes wrong,” Saxe explained. “Here, we are reaching out in advance to assess local capabilities and, most importantly, build the relationships that will be needed in the event that we need to rapidly mobilize on short notice.”

The Alaska National Guard has been leveraging the missions to do additional outreach as well, said Lt. Col. Hannah Sims, director of the Alaska National Guard’s Manpower and Personnel Office, who was one of the organizers of the trip.

“Rural Alaska has a long history of supporting and participating in the Alaska National Guard,” Sims said. “And in Galena in particular, many of their veterans lost their paperwork back in 2013, when the Yukon River flooded and destroyed ninety percent of their homes. So we want to go out not only to thank the veterans for their service, but also to give them the opportunity to meet with a Division of Veterans Affairs representative and get their paperwork and benefits restored.”

The mission also included a small group of aircrew and recruiters, who spoke with local students about opportunities in the Guard.

“The Alaska National Guard is here to serve Alaskans -- it’s really important that we, as an organization, have members from all parts of Alaska,” Saxe said. “And to make that happen, we need more outreach to rural Alaskans. Our state’s unique nature, with its size and remote communities, presents a real challenge to recruiting fairly from all areas. We’re trying to find ways to overcome those challenges and build a really healthy, diverse team of military professionals

Like Us
Follow Us



Leave and Liberty now Exempt from COVID Travel Restrictions
Sailors from the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile-destroyer USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98) depart the ship following deployment. Forrest Sherman returned to Norfolk Naval Station after a regularly scheduled nine-month deployment in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th Fleet areas of operation. The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group has remained underway during their sustainment phase of OFRP as a ready carrier strike group during the COVID-19 global pandemic.
July 2, 2020 - WASHINGTON -- Effective immediately, leave and liberty outside the local area of your command is

USS McCampbell Returns to U.S. for Modernization
The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) breaks away from a formation with ships from Carrier Strike Group 5 and Expeditionary Strike Group 7 following a photo exercise to signify the completion of Valiant Shield 2016. Valiant Shield 2016 is a biennial, U.S.-only, field training exercise (FTX) with a focus on integration of joint training among U.S. forces. McCampbell is participating in Valiant Shield in an effort to increase naval integration and joint capabilities in the event of conflict, contingency, or disaster relief.
July 2, 2020 - PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii -- The guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (DDG 85) departed Yokosuka,

Female Soldiers, JGSDF Members on Camp Zama Share Experiences as Women in Workforce
Staff Sgt. Jenny Cuevas, left, assigned to the 88th Military Police Detachment on Camp Zama, Japan, talks with other participants during an inaugural exchange program June 24 inside the JGSDF building on Camp Zama. The group met for an inaugural exchange program to discuss their experiences as women in their respective workforces. The bilateral discussion, the first of its kind on the installation, covered topics such as career development, child care, and balancing work and home life.
July 2, 2020 - CAMP ZAMA, Japan -- Four U.S. Army Soldiers and six Japan Ground Self-Defense Force members met here

Exercise Gryphon Jet
U.S. Special Operations Forces member repels onto the deck of a ship from a U.S. Air Force CV-22 Osprey assigned to the 21st Special Operations Squadron during Exercise Gryphon Jet at Yokota Air Base, Japan, June 15, 2020. Gryphon Jet is an integrated training exercise focused on improving interoperability throughout the special operations community.
July 1, 2020 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- The 353rd Special Operations Group organized exercise Gryphon Jet from

Chief of Naval Operations Sends Message to Fleet on Sustaining Readiness
Official seal of the Chief of Naval Operations.
July 1, 2020 - WASHINGTON -- Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Adm. Mike Gilday sent a message to the fleet stressing