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176th Maintenance Group gets new commander

Lt. Col. Tory Saxe (right) receives the 176th Maintenance Group command flag from the 176th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Donald S. Wenke, at an Aug. 3, 2013 assumption-of-command ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardon, Alaska. National Guard photo by Capt. John Callahan.

Lt. Col. Tory Saxe (right) receives the 176th Maintenance Group command flag from the 176th Wing commander, Brig. Gen. Donald S. Wenke, at an Aug. 3, 2013 assumption-of-command ceremony at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardon, Alaska. National Guard photo by Capt. John Callahan.

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- Lt. Col. Tory Saxe assumed command of the 176th Maintenance Group in a ceremony at the Kulis Theater here Aug. 3.

Saxe spent the last year in-residence at the U.S. Air Force's Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Ala. Before that he served at Clear Air Force Station as the installation commander and commander of the Air Force's 13th Space Warning Squadron. He is to date the only Guard member invited to serve in that role, having previously distinguished himself through service as commander of the Alaska Air National Guard's 213th Space Warning Squadron, also based at Clear.

"I'm thankful and humbled to be here," Saxe said. "The Maintenance Group has a critical mission. The mission and the people are inextricably linked -- we will accomplish that mission by taking care of the people."

Saxe said that, in addition to consolidating processes within the group, one of his priorities will be to develop "tangible, demonstrable ways to take care of [the group's] people." He identified manning levels and the effects of federal sequestration as challenges confronting the group, in addition to the difficulties inherent in maintaining multiple airframes under a high tempo of operations.

Saxe expressed confidence in meeting those challenges.

"The NCO professionalism and experience level within the group is outstanding," he said. "Together, we will achieve mission success."

A former enlisted Army medic, Saxe entered the Air Force in 1995 as a distinguished graduate of Officer Training School. He has a bachelor's degree in government from Eastern Washington University; a master's degree in Air Warfare from American Military University; and a master's degree in Strategic Studies from Air War College.

The group's previous commander was Col. Mark Hedlund, who left in February to take command of the Eielson-based 168th Aerial Refueling Wing.
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