Military in Alaska: Past, present, and future

General Joseph Ralston – (USAF, Retired)
JosephRalston_PhotoGeneral Ralston served in the nation’s second highest-ranking military position as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He also served as Commander of U.S. European Command and Commander of NATO. General Ralston is known to many Alaskans as the former Commander of the Alaskan Command and the Alaskan NORAD Region. As Commander of the US European Command from (2000-2003), General Ralston was the senior U.S. military officer and commander of all U.S. forces in an area of responsibility that covers more than 21 million square miles and includes 93 nations. This territory extends from the North Cape of Norway, through the waters of the Baltic and Mediterranean seas, most of Europe, parts of the Middle East, to the Cape of Good Hope in South Africa. He led the command in daily missions in the war against terrorism, from the streets of Bosnia to the waters of the Mediterranean. And he oversaw air operations in the no-fly zone over Northern Iraq.


Lt. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach –
kwilsbachLt. Gen. Kenneth S. Wilsbach is Commander, Alaskan North American Aerospace Defense Command Region, North American Aerospace Defense Command; Commander, Alaskan Command, U.S. Northern Command; Commander, Eleventh Air Force, Pacific Air Forces, Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. He is the senior military officer in Alaska, responsible for the integration of all military activities in the Alaskan joint operations area, synchronizing the activities of more than 21,000 active-duty and reserve forces from all services. He is also responsible for the planning and execution of all Homeland Defense operations within the theater, including security and civil support actions. General Wilsbach also commands Eleventh Air Force, overseeing the training and readiness of five wings and Air Force installations located in Alaska, Hawaii, and Guam. As Commander of the Alaskan Region of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, General Wilsbach directs operations to ensure effective surveillance, monitoring and defense of the region’s airspace.

General Wilsbach was commissioned in 1985 as a distinguished graduate of the University of Florida’s ROTC program and earned his pilot wings in 1986 at Laughlin Air Force Base, Texas. He is a command pilot with more than 3,800 hours in multiple aircraft, primarily in the F-15C, MC-12 and F-22A, and has flown 71 combat missions in operations Northern Watch, Southern Watch and Enduring Freedom.




  • Lise Falskow, President & CEO of Alaska World Affairs Council

HOST: Alaska World Affairs Council


RECORDED: Friday, March 24, 2017 at the Dena’ina Civic and Convention Center.


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Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, is the FM Operations Manager for KSKA-FM. He oversees the day-to-day operations of the FM broadcast. He produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska-focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or hosting All Things Considered and can still find him operating the soundboard for any of the live broadcast programs. After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate, and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book, or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!