Maj. Gen. Garrett takes command of U.S. Army Alaska

Sunday, May 20, 2012 - 19:28
Incoming U.S. Army Alaska commander Maj. Gen. Michael Garrett, right, takes the U.S. Army Alaska flag from Lt. Gen. Francis Wiercinski, commanding general of the U.S. Army Pacific, during a change of command ceremony on Thursday, May 17 on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

The newest commander of the U.S. Army in Alaska is no stranger to the 49th state.

Maj. Gen. Michael X. Garrett, who from 2006 to '08 served as first commander of the 4th Brigade Comant Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at Fort Richardson, took command from Maj. Gen. Raymond Palumbo in a change of command ceremony held on Thursday, May 17 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

"It is absolutely fabulous to be back in Alaska," Garrett said before the ceremony.

Garrett and his wife, Lorelei, are familiar faces in the Eagle River community. Their son, Mikey, played his Squirt hockey with the local Mustang Hockey Association Blue Devils, and plans to join the Eagle River High Wolves on the ice this winter.

Lorelei Garrett said she was overjoyed when she learned of her husband's assignment.

"It really is like coming home," she said.

Maj. Gen. Garrett most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff for United States Forces-Iraq during Operation New Dawn.

DIgnitaries in attendance at Thursday's ceremony included Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, Eagle River Rep. Anna Fairclough. outgoing Anchorage School District Superintendent Carol Comeau, North Pole Mayor Doug Isaacson and Wayne Stolt, honorary consul of the Finnish embassy in Anchorage.

After two years of service, Maj. Gen. Palumbo has been promoted to Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence) for Joint Colaition and Warfighter Support at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.

During his remarks, Maj. Gen. Garrett said Palumbo set the bar high during his two-year command.

"The shoes that I have to fill are big, but I will do my best," Garrett said.

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