A change of command ceremony on JBER Friday morning welcomed a new leader to the nation’s only Arctic airborne combat brigade. Col. Paul Larson assumed command of the Army’s 4/25 Airborne Brigade Combat Team.

It’s the first assignment in Alaska for Larson, who spent the last six months in Afghanistan. When asked about the challenges ahead for the Brigade, Larson referred to the large geographic area where the soldiers could face deployment.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for the brigade going forward into the future is meeting the requirements for both the Arctic and the Pacific,” Larson said. “We have two diverse environments and different kinds of threats and challenges we could meet. We could go to the Arctic to do some different kind of rescue mission or we could go to Australia or somewhere in Taiwan or elsewhere. Both extremely long distances, both extremely different mission sets that require us to be prepared on a variety of different things.”

But outgoing commander, Col. Scott Green, said budget cuts have been one of the most challenging issues for the Brigade under his command. At one point the Brigade was almost disbanded. Green said he was proud of the soldiers who continued to do their jobs and stay focused.

“I have been really impressed with what the soldiers have done, and the fact that they have continued to succeed despite the number of obstacles. They persevere and they have a mentality of winning. I think they’ve brought the team closer together and that’s been a real benefit for us,” Green said.

Green also said he would miss being commander of the 4/25 but felt it was in excellent hands.

Although he’s leaving the 4/25, Green isn’t going far. He’s moving down the street to Army Alaska headquarters to become the new chief of staff.

KTVA 11’s Lauren Maxwell can be reached via email or onTwitter.

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