ANCHORAGE -

Anchorage's Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson received a new commander Wednesday, with Air Force Col. Brian Bruckbauer taking the reins of the 673d Air Base Wing from Col. Brian Duffy in a change-of-command ceremony.

Even though Bruckbauer is a new arrival in Alaska, he's fully aware of JBER's excellent reputation. That's why the base's new commander, known as a team builder, is excited to take the installation's more than 5,500 airmen, soldiers, and civilians to higher levels than before.

As Duffy said his goodbyes to base staff, en route to a new assignment at Joint Base Andrews as a special assistant to the commander of Air Force Materiel Command, Bruckbauer is eager to begin his journey in Alaska.

"There is no greater honor than to be in command," said Bruckbauer, who has experience in air traffic, air logistics, and even combat in Afghanistan. "I've worked with other services, I've worked in stressful situations and I know this is a large installation -- but we have great mission partners here and a great strong community, and that's why it works here."

Hoping to be a cog in JBER's well-tuned military machine, Bruckbauer says he's up for the challenge.

"I am proud and humbled to be part of this great team," Bruckbauer said.

JBER comprises 84,000 acres and includes personnel from the U.S Alaskan Command, the 11th Air Force, the U.S. Army Alaska, and the Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region. But Bruckbauer, who says he once was in charge of the Air Force's largest airfield, says he is focused to find efficiencies fiscally and mentally to do things smarter on base.

Bruckbauer's previous assignment was at the Pentagon, where he served as the military assistant to the undersecretary of defense for policy.