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Zemp takes command at Fort Wainwright

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Posted: Saturday, December 7, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:40 am, Sat Dec 7, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — Interior Alaska's largest military installation has a new commander. 

Col. Sidney Zemp took over as the Fort Wainwright commander at a ceremony Friday afternoon at the post fitness center. 

Zemp is originally from Hampton Roads, Va. He’s a former tank commander and a veteran of Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm and more recently Operation Iraqi Freedom. His last post was as assistant chief of staff for the U.S. Army Intelligence and Security Command, Fort Belvoir, Va. 

This is Zemp’s first time in Alaska and the first time serving as a garrison commander. 

He joked during a brief speech Friday afternoon that his wife’s Alaska education has come disproportionately from Alaska reality TV shows. She’s working on an “Alaska bucket list,” and he’s hoping to help show her around the state when she moves up this summer, he said. For now, his family remains in Virginia while one of his daughters finishes her senior year of high school.

Zemp said at a news conference after the ceremony that it’s too early to discuss any specific plans for Fort Wainwright. He arrived in Fairbanks on Monday. 

“The first thing I’ll do is make an assessment,” he said. “I’ll be listening. I’m new to Alaska. I’m new to the garrison. Taking it all in will be my first priority.”     

Zemp’s duties as garrison command include overseeing the services and training space used by 14,000 soldiers, civilians and military families. 

Zemp takes the position from acting garrison manager Wesley Potter, a civilian who has been running the post since the retirement of garrison commander Col. Ron Johnson this fall. 

Contact staff writer Sam Friedman

at 459-7545. Follow him on Twitter: @FDNMcrime.

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