The Alaska National Guard has a new chief in town, Maj. Charles Nesloney, 41. He's a soldier from Texas with a degree in agriculture, a background in farming, and experience as a commander of US Army Space Company in Quatar. Nesloney moved to Juneau in November, 2007 and will be running the Alaska Army National Guard's 3rd Battalion, headquartered in Juneau.
Nesloney's wife, Tracy, and their two children, Zane, 7, and Sadie, 4, will move from Texas to Juneau in June. Their arrival here will mark the end of a two year separation. Nesloney recently completed a 15 month deployment with 3rd Battalion in Mississippi and Kuwait. The length of separation is not unusual for career military officers during a time of war, said Nesloney.
Nesloney's military career began when he enlisted in the infantry as a private in 1991. Later, he became an officer and eventually became a member of the Army Strategic Command. He was deployed to Quatar in 2003 as commander of the 1st Space Company. After 16 years in the active Army, he joined the Alaska Guard in 2004 and became on operations officer at Fort Greely, the missile command site operated by the Guard south of Fairbanks.
"My whole life I've always wanted to live in Alaska," Nesloney said. "I had never seen bears, moose, whales or seals before coming up here. It's the purity of the wilderness that attracts me. Alaska is far enough away from civilization that it puts you in touch with reality, with things that really matter."
Nesloney is a big proponent of Boy Scouts and was recently appointed program committee chairman for the Scouts' Great Alaska Council. "It's a great way for young men to understand themselves and what they mean in society. I grew up in the scouts and it taught me how to survive mentally, physically and morally. It made me a civic-minded person," Nesloney said.
His civic-mindedness developed further at Texas University where he participated in student government. That experience led him to join the Army. "I wanted my life to stand for something," he said.
Nesloney will be eligible for retirement in four years and he is ready to start second career. He wants to continue in public service and is thinking about politics or something related. "In public service you can make a difference in people's lives," he said.
Sgt. Mac Metcalfe, Public Affairs NCO, 3rd Battalion, Alaska National Guard in Camp Shelby, Miss., can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.