Commissioner, Department of Military and Veterans Affairs
and Adjutant General, Alaska National Guard
Maj Gen Torrence W. Saxe is the Adjutant General, Alaska National Guard and the Commissioner, Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. As the adjutant general, he is the senior military advisor to the governor of Alaska and commander of the Alaska National Guard, responsible for overseeing the training and readiness of 3,900 Airmen and Soldiers. He also oversees the Alaska State Defense Force, Alaska Naval Militia, Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, Veteransâ€™ Affairs Office, and Alaska Military Youth Academy. General Saxe is the official liaison between the state and federal Department of Veterans Affairs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and all military forces in Alaska.
General Saxe entered the Air Force in 1995 as a distinguished graduate of the Officer Training School, Maxwell AFB, Alabama. General Saxe joined the Alaska Air National Guard in 2004, serving as commander of the 213th Space Warning Squadron and the 13th Space Warning Squadron. As the 13th Space Warning Squadron commander, he was the Federal Installation Commander. He also served as the commander of the 168th Wing, Eielson AFB, Alaska. Prior to his current position, General Saxe was the commander of the Alaska Air National Guard, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska.
Prior to his current position, Brigadier General Saxe was the commander of the 168th Wing,
Eielson AFB, Alaska.
(Current as of October 2019)
Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs
Colonel (ret) Craig Christenson is currently the Deputy Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. He was born in Greensburg, Pennsylvania and attended Washington and Jefferson College on an Army ROTC scholarship. He was commissioned in 1985, and served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1985-1989 while on an educational delay to attend the Pennsylvania College of Podiatric Medicine. He entered active duty in the U.S. Army in 1989. In 1993, he left active duty and entered the Army Reserves to practice podiatry in Altoona, Pennsylvania. In 1994, he entered the United States Air Force, serving until his retirement in 2012. He is board certified by the American Board of Podiatric Surgery. Following retirement, Colonel Christenson was appointed as Deputy Commissioner, Alaska Department of Health and Social Services where he served until 2014. In 2019, he ran as a candidate for Alaska State House District 13 in Eagle River. His wife, Sandy is a teacher and they have two children, Lane and Katie.
MAJOR AWARDS AND DECORATIONS:
EFFECTIVE DATES OF PROMOTION:
(Current as of April 2019)
Director, Joint Forces Headquarters
Alaska Army National Guard, Army Staff
Colonel Wayne Don received a Regular Army commission in 1994 as an infantry officer through the University Of Alaska Fairbanks Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC). He served as a rifle platoon leader and battalion scout in the 3rd battalion, 5th cavalry, 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division Kirchgoens, Germany. He later served as battalion logistics officer and rifle company commander in Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. His last active duty assignment was with cadet command as an ROTC instructor, University of Alaska Fairbanks. He later transitioned into the Alaska Army National Guard and served as battalion operations officer and brigade logistics officer.
He deployed in 2009-2010 to Operation Enduring Freedom as staff officer in support of Mongolian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Colonel Don also deployed to Bosnia in Operations Joint Endeavor and Joint Guard.
Colonel Don is a graduate of the Army War College DDE program. He completed the Advanced Operations Course (AOC) and the Intermediate Level Education (ILE) courses, Infantry Officer Advanced Course, Infantry Officer Basic Course and Bradley Leaders course. He received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) and Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Criminal Justice from the University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Previously, Colonel Don was the Brigade Commander of the 38th Troop Command, which consisted of an Infantry, Aviation and Ground Missile Defense Battalions. He also served as Commander 103rd Civil Support Team (WMD), Alaska Army National Guard. He led a multi-component unit of Army and Air Guard chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear specialists (CBRN). Prior to this position, he served as brigade executive officer, 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade (BFSB) and Alaska Mongolia State Partnership officer.
His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious service medal with Oak leaf cluster, Army Commendation Medal with Oak leaf cluster, Army Achievement Medal, National Defense Service Medal, NATO Medal, Army Service Medal, Overseas Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Service Medal with M device, Army Reserve Overseas Training Ribbon, Alaska Commendation Medal, Airborne and Air Assault badge, Expert Infantryman’s badge and the Ranger Tab. He has been awarded the Order of Saint Maurice (Patron Saint of the Infantry) by the United States Army Infantry Association.
His professional affiliations include the Alaska National Guard Officers Association (life member), Veterans of Foreign Wars (life member), United States Army Infantryman’s Association (life member), Alaska Native Veterans Association (life member), and University of Alaska Fairbanks Alumni Association (life member). In addition, he was appointed by the board of trustees of the Museum of the American Indian (Smithsonian) as a committee member for the development of a Native American monument on the mall in Washington DC.
Commander and Assistant Adjutant General
Alaska Army National Guard
(Current as of August 2019)
Commander and Assistant Adjutant General
Alaska Air National Guard
Colonel Tracy D. Smith serves as the Commander, Alaska Air National Guard. She is responsible for the recruiting, retention, training, and equipping of over 2,400 Alaskan citizen airmen in two flying wings. She provides strategic airlift, search and rescue, aerial refueling, air defense, and space warning and surveillance capabilities in support of state and federal missions worldwide. Colonel Smith ensures the Alaska Air National Guard maintains a constant watch and commitment to Pacific Air Forces, Air Combat Command, United States Northern Command, United States Transportation Command, Alaska North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, and Air Force Space Command.
Colonel Smith entered the United States Air Force in 1986 as a Medical Service Specialist. She received her commission from the United States Air Force Academy in 1994. After completion of Basic Personnel Officer's School, Colonel Smith served at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, at the United States Air Force Academy, Colorado and at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. In 2001, she joined the Air Force Reserves before transitioning to the Air National Guard in 2004. Colonel Smith served on Active Duty, as a Traditional Reservist, as a Traditional Guardsman, and as an Active Guard Reservist in both staff and command positions at the squadron, group, wing, state, and national headquarters level. Prior to her current position, she was the Director for Reserve Component Personnel Programs, Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Reserve Integration.
(Current as of March 2021)
Office of Veterans Affairs
In 2009, Mr. Verdie Bowen was appointed as Director of the Office of Veterans Affairs by former Governor Sarah Palin. As Director, Mr. Bowen is responsible for the development and establishment of polices and strategic plans that directly affect over 230,000 Alaskans including all Alaska veterans, active duty, reserve components, dependents, and survivors living in the states 348 communities. Recently, Mr. Bowen served nationally as the 70th President of the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs. In this position he provided key testimony for five major pieces of legislation; the most critical being the Veterans Affairs (VA) Modernization Act of 2017 and the VA Mission Act of 2018.
Since his appointment, Mr. Bowen has traveled to over 265 communities in Alaska. He has provided critical testimony to the US Senate on rural healthcare and helped as a member of the 13th working group to facilitate the establishment of a memorandum of agreement between Alaska Tribal Health Agencies and the Federal VA allowing veterans to receive healthcare in villages all across Alaska. Mr. Bowen served on the Department of Veterans Affairs Rural Health Advisory committee from 2013 to 2017. He has also provided guidance and testimony to the Alaska State Legislator on several local veteran’s issues. To date he has provided guidance on the following passed legislation:
Currently he is working on the development of a new state veteran's cemetery in Fairbanks and the establishment of a DoD/VA/Alaskan software platform assisting veterans with earned benefits.
As a 23-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, Mr. Bowen began his military career in 1981 serving in several units as a Communications Specialist. His major assignments included the following units:
During his service, he supported the research and development of long-range communications pertaining to the Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI). He managed the deployment of the Defense Mediterranean Improvement Satellite Program. He installed the first Alaskan bandwidth management network. Finally, he designed and installed UN and NATO telephone systems connecting commercial air traffic control towers in the old Czech Republic which allowed commercial air traffic back into this theater of operations.
Mr. Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Information Systems from Bellevue University in Nebraska. He is married to Catherine Bowen and they have four sons and four grandchildren.
(Current as of December 2018)
Division of Homeland Security & Emergency Management
No Bio Available
(Current as of July 2020)
Alaska Military Youth Academy
Mr. David "Mac" McPhetres was appointed as the director of the Alaska Military Youth Academy on May 6, 2019. Mr. McPhetres retired from the U.S. Air Force and Alaska Air National Guard in May 2019 in the grade of Colonel after 31 years of service. He most recently served as the Commander, 168th Maintenance Group, Eielson AFB, Alaska where his responsibilities included all actions necessary to organize, administer, recruit, instruct and train new and seasoned airmen for their State and Federal mission. Prior to his appointment as the 168th Maintenance Group Commander, he served as Director of Staff, the Air Operations Officer and deputy Joint Operations Officer in the Alaska Joint Forces Headquarters.
Mr. McPhetres was a distinguished graduate of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Program at Washington State University in 1988 where he received his commission and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Zoology. After Undergraduate Pilot Training, he gained experience in the C-21A, C-130E, and C-130H1 prior to joining the Alaska Air National Guard's 144th Airlift Squadron in 1998. He has more than 4400 flying hours including over 140 combat hours in USAF Aircraft as Pilot, Instructor, and Evaluator. Mac served as mission commander and crew on operational deployments including Coronet Oak, Operation Desert Storm, Operation Northern Watch, Joint Forge, and Operation Enduring Freedom.
In conjunction with his military career, Mr. McPhetres was a full time flight crew member with Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, Westchester, NY from 1999-2009. He has over 4000 hours flying the Boeing 747-400 freighter. He also served during natural disasters including volcanic eruptions in New Guinea in 1997 and Hurricanes in Honduras in 1998. In 2009, Mr. McPhetres transferred to the Joint Staff Operations section of the State headquarters where he provided command and control of National Guard forces executing homeland defense, defense support of civilian authorities and domestic emergency missions within the State of Alaska.
Mr. McPhetres continued his professional development through completion of professional military education courses which focused on leadership, command, core values, strategy, planning, and mentorship. He is an avid outdoorsman with a passion for Nordic skiing. He was a volunteer coach for the Eagle River Special Olympics cross-country athletes in 2014 and 2015, and also coached Masters skiers in the Alaska Nordic Racing adult program before transferring to Eielson AFB.
(Current as of June 2019)
Alaska State Defense Force
No Biography Available
(Current as of November 2019)
Administrative Services Division
Army Guard Road,
JBER, AK 99505