U.S. Army Alaska has a new commander. Major General Mark O’Neil assumed command in a ceremony on JBER Wednesday morning.

O’Neil replaces Maj. General Bryan Owens who is retiring after serving as U.S. Army Alaska Commander for the past two years.

O’Neil comes to Alaska from Hawaii where he served as the U.S. Army Pacific Chief of Staff. O’Neil will command roughly 12,000 Army soldiers stationed at Fort Wainwright, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the Black Rapids Training site.

At Wednesday’s Change of Command Ceremony, O’Neil said he was ready to take on the big job.

“I understand the confidence you’ve place in me and value the strategic importance of the Army’s presence here in Alaska,” said O’Neil, telling the crowd, “I won’t let you down.”

O’Neil takes the reins at a time when many soldiers are being deployed. The Army’s 4-25 is deploying to Afghanistan later this fall.

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