FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Fort Wainwright said goodbye to Garrison Commander Col. Christopher Ruga and welcomed Col. Nate Surrey as the new garrison commander on July 22, 2021.
Ruga served as the garrison commander for two years, taking command at the start of a more than $200 million effort to upgrade barracks buildings, facilities, services and recreational opportunities on post. He also shepherded the installation through the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and strove to protect the soldiers, civilians and family members who live and work on the installation, as well as the surrounding community.
The director of Installation Management Command-Pacific, Craig Deatrick, presided over the ceremony and praised the work of Ruga during a challenging time.
“During his tenure, Col. Chris Ruga rose to that challenge and led a remarkable team as they went above and beyond to serve and support more than 23,000 soldiers, families, and civilians associated with the Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely communities,” Deatrick stated during the ceremony.
Ruga and his wife Kimberlee will depart Fairbanks this afternoon on their journey by recreational vehicle to Kentucky, where he will be taking over as the chief of the Force Support Division, Enlisted Personnel Management Directorate, at Fort Knox.
Surrey most recently served as the Chief of the Army Protection Division at the Pentagon. He comes to Fort Wainwright with his wife, Col. Alicia Surrey, who took over as the deputy commander for nursing at Bassett Army Community Hospital.
This is not the first tour at Fort Wainwright for the Surreys, however. They met as lieutenants who were both stationed here from 2000-2003.
Nate Surrey stated that they’ve “been attempting to return for the last 18 years. The mission, the terrain, and the people combine to create the most majestic environment we’ve experienced in our careers, and we’re thrilled to be back in the great state of Alaska.”
The complete ceremony was live-streamed on the official Fort Wainwright Facebook account and can still be viewed there by interested individuals who were not able to attend the event in person.