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Fort Wainwright PAO
Col. Edward Daly was greeted by senior commanders and the Alaska community Sept. 4 in a circle of honor ceremony at the Fort Wainwright parade field that marked his assumption of responsibility as the U.S. Army Alaska deputy commander.
Commanders and their respective colors from all the major USARAK commands of forts Greely, Richardson and Wainwright formed the circle to hail their new DCO.
Maj. Gen. Stephen R. Layfield, USARAK commanding general, said Daly’s arrival heralds the culmination of a grueling search for a DCO to assist him in meeting the challenges of a rapidly-expanding USARAK that demands quality leadership.
“Col. Eddie Daly will deliver that leadership as the second-in-command of U.S. Army Alaska,” Layfield said. “His credentials are solid; rock solid. He has been tested, and he has been proven by multiple combat tours, multiple combat theaters (and) an unbelievable array of awards for bravery.”
Daly’s previous assignment was serving as commander of the Afghan Regional Security Integration Command-North, Combined Security Transition Command–Afghanistan.
Layfield said he had a telephone interview with Daly for the USARAK DCO billet while the colonel was still in Afghanistan cut short because Daly had to leave the forward operating base to accomplish a joint U.S./Afghan mission.
“His calm resolve on that phone and the fact that when he hung up he would lead a combat patrol all night was all I needed to know,” Layfield said. “He had the job.”
Daly said he was looking for three things in his assignment following Afghanistan: He wanted to stay in the Global War on Terrorism fight; he didn’t want a “retirement assignment;” and he wanted an assignment where he “gets to see (his) wife in daylight.”
“Well, I guess Alaska answers all three of those,” Daly said.
The USARAK DCO assignment is vital in supporting the GWOT, he said.
While I was, I still wanted to be with units that are deploying, that are still training, that are force projection,” Daly elaborated. “And they are certainly doing that here at United States Army Alaska.”
Despite his knowledge of and enthusiasm for USARAK’s capabilities and responsibilities, Daly had never been to Alaska before assuming his new job.
“I have always been curious about Alaska,” he said. “And one of the first things I’ve learned since I’ve been here is how deployable, how mission focused all these units are in Alaska.”
Daly said it’s his responsibility to assist deploying units.
“My job now is to help set the conditions back here — the training, the deployment criteria, whatever the families need, interaction with the community — to help in those areas so that the combat commanders and leaders of the units can keep their focus on getting ready for combat operations.”
During the ceremony, an empty chair in the front row was used to represent USARAK Soldiers who are deployed overseas.
“All that we do is for the deployed Soldiers, and today they are not forgotten,” Daly said.
Daly said he was immediately impressed with USARAK and Alaska community relations when Charles Wallace, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, went out of his way to speak with Daly and apprise him of the state of USARAK. Furthermore, Daly said he was welcomed by local officials and leaders.
“This is really genuine,” Daly said. “This community relationship is true. It’s not just something that somebody’s just talking about.”
Daly began his Army career in 1974 when he was 17. He served as an infantry squad leader and platoon sergeant before earning a commission in 1982. He has served in every leadership position from platoon leader to brigade commander, serving a combat tour in Panama and two combat tours in Afghanistan.
Daly is a graduate of the Primary and Basic Noncommissioned Officer courses, the Infantry Officer Basic and Advanced courses, the Army and U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff colleges, the U.S. Air War College, the U.S. Army Ranger School and the Special Forces Qualification Course.
Daly’s awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Soldier’s Medal, two Bronze Stars, the Purple Heart, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge (second award), Air Assault Badge, Master Parachutist Badge (one combat jump), Combat Diver Badge and the Military Free Fall Badge.
Daly is married to Dawn Daly, a retired Army major. Their son, Joshua, is a senior at the Virginia Military Institute and will earn a commission as a Marine Corps pilot. Their daughter, Eva, is a sophomore at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.
Layfield acknowledged Daly’s credentials, expressing his confidence in the leadership acumen of the new DCO.
“We are fortunate to have a warrior of this magnitude to join our ranks as deputy commander of all of (U.S. Army) Alaska,” Layfield said.