FORT GREELY, Alaska – U.S. Army Garrison Alaska, Fort Greely conducted a Change of Command Ceremony at the Aurora Community Activities Center June 24 where Lt. Col. Joel Johnson relinquished command to Lt. Col. Joseph “Joey” Orr. U.S. Army Garrison Alaska Commander, Col. Christopher Ruga presided over the ceremony.
Johnson served as the garrison commander since June 13, 2019 and will depart for Hawaii to serve as the Chief of Operations at Army Air Missile Defense Command.
“Who would have thought we would have had a global pandemic? I surely did not. I was dealt the COVID card,” said Johnson during his farewell speech. “But when you take a step back and take a look at our collective response, the community truly stepped up an in effort to keep each other and the mission safe, and I am very grateful for that.”
Orr comes to Fort Greely from Tucson, Arizona, having served as the Professor of Military Science at the University of Arizona. He is married to Dr. Courtney Orr and they have two children.
“To the team here at Fort Greely, you are surely an amazing group of world class leaders, and Courtney and I look forward to integrating with you quickly and taking this installation to new heights,” said Orr. “To the city of Delta Junction, we are eager to get to know you, support you, and thrive with you.”
The Change of Command Ceremony is a military tradition that is rich with symbolism and heritage. Key to the ceremony is the passing of the unit colors. The colors are the commander’s symbol of authority representing his responsibilities to the organization. The passing of the colors represents the transfer of authority from the outgoing commander to the incoming commander.
Fort Greely serves as the Nation’s home for the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense (GBMD) Program and the Cold Regions Test Center. The garrison commander at Fort Greely is dual-hatted and reports to both Installation Management Command through U.S. Army Garrison Alaska and the senior mission commander through the Space and Missile Defense Command in Huntsville, Alabama.