First female post commander in Alaska takes charge at Fort Wainwright

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- Lt. Col. Tori Bruzese took over as post commander at Fort Wainwright on Tuesday morning in Fairbanks, becoming the first woman post commander in the state.

Bruzese is the 23rd post commander in Fort Wainwright's 40-year history. The job will be her first as a post commander.

''I've never done the same job twice in the Army,'' she said. ''Yes, there is some nervousness, but there is great anticipation.''

Bruzese said Fort Wainwright was her first choice for her new assignment.

''It was purely personal,'' she said. ''I wanted to see Alaska. I didn't think this was a state I was going to get to.''

Bruzese said her command will emphasize service to soldiers and their families. ''I am driven by taking care of people.''

Bruzese, 42, was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but calls Florida home.

She comes to Fort Wainwright from Washington, D.C., where she worked with the 2001 Armed Forces Inaugural Committee.

Her military career has spanned 20 years, including three as a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. She has bachelor's degrees in geology and geography and a master's degree in remote sensing and geographic information systems. She has been assigned to several different engineer units with the Army Corps of Engineers, Department of the Army and Department of Defense.

Bruzese has been in Alaska for about two weeks. She and her mother took a state ferry through Southeast to Haines, then drove north.

''I wanted the Alaska experience before I started working,'' she said. ''This is my first time in Alaska.''

She took command from Lt. Col. William Bryan, who came to Fort Wainwright in 1999. Bryan is retiring after 28 years in the Army.

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