Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson’s Arctic Warrior Events Center was packed with guardsmen and state politicians, including the governor, for the promotion of Alaska’s adjutant general.

Brig. Gen. Torrence Saxe, who also serves as commissioner for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, was promoted to the rank of major general Tuesday morning.

"Gen. Saxe, congratulations on this honorable achievement of promotion to major general," Gov. Mike Dunleavy said. "I look forward to seeing your major accomplishments and thank you for your service to Alaska and to our country."

The promotion will give Saxe more flexibility when it comes to decision making, although his role will not change.

"Typically with rank, you talk about more authority so it does give me the opportunity to have more authority to make the decisions that I need to make and to move the state forward," he said.

According to a release about the event, Saxe is responsible for around 4,400 guardsmen and state personnel assigned to units in the Alaska Air and Army National Guard. He attributes his success to them.

"This rank, it is about you," Saxe said. "I have a rank to do good things and to use the collective, it's not about me. It is about them, it is about the soldier, it is about the airmen."

Major general is the highest rank in the state for the National Guard, according to Lt. Col. Candis Olmstead. During the ceremony, Dunleavy said this is Saxe’s second promotion within a year. Saxe said he appreciates the honor.

"I really like that my family could be here and just the bigger family of the National Guard and also team JBER," Saxe said. "It was a good day."

While the guard currently has guardsmen deployed overseas, Saxe’s focus within the state is recruiting. He said he’s especially interested in getting back into rural Alaska.

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