New major general takes command of US Army Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - U.S. Army Alaska troops fall in line behind a new commanding general Wednesday after a change of command took place at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler assumed the role of commanding general following a ceremony at Pershing Field to commemorate the change and bid farewell to outgoing commanding general Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak, who will become deputy commander of U.S. Army Europe.
“Thanks for what you do on a daily basis,” Eifler said to his soldiers. “We are going to go through some crucibles, and some hardships, and tough times, which is typical in Alaska. And that’s what makes Alaska bold and the people in Alaska tough, and we need to do that the same way, but together.”
Before the change, guests at the ceremony enjoyed a grand presentation that included the 208th Army Reserve Band and 9th Army Band, numerous marching soldiers and the blasting sounds of artillery gunfire. Various military personnel and government officials attended the ceremony, including Anchorage Mayor Dave Bronson.
Following the presentation, Eifler, Andrysiak and Maj. Gen. Xavier Brunson came together to pass the unit’s flag from Andrysiak’s command to the hands of Eifler, confirming his transition of authority.
Eifler comes to Alaska after serving a spell in Washington D.C as the Army’s chief legislative liaison, and had previously served as the deputy commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division in New York.
“I’ve been wanting to come to Alaska for about 36 years since I was a teenager in high school,” Eifler said following his ceremony. “It’s taken 36 years to get here and we’ve got a lot of things to do and we’re really proud.”
Eifler, a Michigan native and graduate of Central Michigan University, became an infantry officer during his time in college, where he also graduated from airborne and ranger school. He later held leadership roles in the 75th Ranger Regiment at Fort Benning in Georgia, and commanded a brigade from the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Hawaii.
The new commanding general has also taken part in deployments to Haiti for Operation Uphold Democracy, Iraq for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Inherent Resolve and Afghanistan for Operation Enduring Freedom.
Eifler will be spearheading the Army’s “Regaining Arctic Dominance” plan, which looks to bring military resources to the Arctic and equip soldiers with the tools to succeed. As Eifler prepares for his new role, he said his strategic outlook for the military should play a role in the Army’s success for the state.
“Alaska is absolutely strategic, across the globe, for where it is and where the access is,” he said, and noted the growth of access to natural resources in the Arctic has created unnecessary friction. “National sovereignty is important in the Arctic to detour conflict, so I think seeing the big picture from all those previous jobs has really help me put in perspective how important Alaska is.”
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