New JBER commander makes history as first woman in charge of base

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ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - JBER's newest commander made history Friday, by becoming the first woman to command the base. In a speech delivered by the new commander, she said that she was honored to be chosen for such an important position, and that, "In many ways, it really does feel like coming home."

In the ceremony Friday morning, Air Force Col. Patricia Csank took charge of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and the 673d Air Base Wing, replacing outgoing Air Force Col. George Dietrich.

Csank addressed the public and community officials with whom she will soon be working, promising to them that her door would always be open as it has been in the past. To that end, she said she plans to continue engagement at JBER, forming and developing relationships that will make the base as strong it can be.

She said this was partly a legacy from outgoing commander Dietrich, who will be moving to North Carolina to become the director of Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, the largest military installation in the world by population.

"You know, it's a great privilege, and it's humbling," Csank said, of being the first woman to command JBER. "There are many fantastic women who came before me to clear this path so that I could get an opportunity like this, and it really is an honor to be able to represent the many talented and diverse airmen that we have in the Air Force today."

During her speech, she took the time to thank those that appointed her to the position.

"Thank you for putting your trust and confidence in my ability to lead the wing. I know you had your pick of any leader that you could have had to come in for this position, and I want you to know that I'm truly honored to be the one that you selected," Csank said, addressing Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wilsbach.

"I want you to know that I won't let you down and I won't let our wing down."

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