Lieutenant General Ken Wilsbach grew up in a military family. His dad, in the U.S. Navy, was once stationed in Adak when Wilsbach was just a kid. He found himself returning to Alaska for assignment with the Air Force in 1998. Ever since then, it seems he’s been drawn back.
“I loved it here, I loved the people here, the mission is a great mission and so, absolutely wanted to come back,” said Wilsbach.
He’s now settled in his new position as Commander of the Alaskan Command. In just under three months, Wilsbach has seen an impressive performance from his staff and an unparalleled support from the community outside JBER’s gates.
“Alaska’s different and the way it’s different is they make you part of their families. They make you part of their groups. It’s not just ‘hey we really support you all at the base’. You have that, but what you also have is ‘come to our house for dinner, come to our party, come be a part of our family celebrations’,” said Wilsbach.
As the senior military officer in Alaska, his duties involve juggling multiple “hats", or commanding roles. In addition to Commander of the Alaskan Command, Wilsbach is responsible for all the Air Forces in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam, as well as surveillance and defense of the airspace encompassing the Alaskan NORAD Region. While it may seem no easy task, his 31-year military career has eased him into the position.
“My service has been preparing me to do this job for a while. It’s what I should be able to do at this point in my career,” he said.
And for the few moments when he’s not actively wearing his hats, Lieutenant General Wilsbach and his wife can be found cheering on their alma mater, the University of Florida Gators.
“We also have season tickets that we have tried to use as we travel around. We’ve been to two games already this year so we travel a bit and make sure we get back to Gainesville for our football fix,” said Wilsbach.
During his time as Commander, Wilsbach hopes to connect on a personal level with all the personnel he leads.