JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to dominate the news cycle in America and all over the globe, Alaskans were reminded this weekend that the American Soldier has rarely had the luxury of prioritizing self. One of the fundamental oaths of the Soldier's Creed is to always place the mission first. For more than 150 Alaska Army Guardsmen assigned to the 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, stepping off the aircraft at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport on Saturday, April 4, closed the book on another completed mission.
It was a luminous spring evening in Anchorage. The golden Alaskan sun flickered through an eerily vacant North Terminal at the airport. More than 10 months had passed since the Soldiers tasted Alaska's fresh mountain air. They were finally home.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — The state of Alaska will welcome back more than 150 Soldiers from the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, returning from deployment on Saturday, April 4. The 297th IN BN Soldiers were deployed to the country of Kosovo for a NATO peacekeeping mission and were out of the country for nearly nine months.
The Soldiers have recently demobilized from deployment and for the last 14 days, the 297th IN BN has been quarantined on U.S. Army base Ft. Bliss located in El Paso,Texas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Soldiers have followed all federally mandated COVID-19 health and safety precautions during their travels and time spent in Texas.
BETHEL, Alaska — U.S. Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Sara McPherson, the decontamination NCO and acting noncommissioned officer in charge with the 12th Civil Support Team (CST) out of New Hampshire, set up a sick call for local native Alaskans to seek medical treatment in Bethel, Alaska, on Feb. 29, during exercise Arctic Eagle 2020.
The CST exercise scheduled to take place in Bethel Feb. 29 through March 1 was cancelled because of near-whiteout conditions. However, even in inclement weather, Staff Sgt. McPherson and the, approximately, 29 other Alaska National Guard, Alaska State Defense Force, and 12 CST personnel continued their domestic operations mission to support the people of Bethel.
FAIRBANKS, Alaska — The Alaska National Guard, Alaska State Defense Force and New Hampshire NG's 12th Civil Support Team will travel to Bethel on Saturday, Feb. 29 as part of exercise Arctic Eagle 2020 and Maj. Gen. Torrence Saxe's, AKNG commander and Alaska Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs commissioner, initiative to strengthen department's ties with rural communities.
The Bethel armory will serve as an exercise venue for the AKNG, ASDF and 12th CST to simulate a scenario designed to validate equipment and procedures for operations in rural, arctic environments. The team of 20 personnel will stay overnight at the armory to conduct a simulated Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear and Explosive material response mission. During the exercise, they will establish a sick call medical facility within the armory and test long range communications equipment with personnel as far away as the Alcantra armory in Wasilla.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Approximately 900 Air and Army National Guardsmen from 15 states are set to participate in Exercise Arctic Eagle 2020 across the state of Alaska, from Feb. 20 to March. 7.
Arctic Eagle 2020 is a statewide exercise involving national, state and local agencies designed to provide opportunities for participants to conduct sustained operations in the extreme cold-weather conditions found in Arctic environments.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Airmen with the 210th and 212th Rescue Squadrons from the Alaska Air National Guard's 176th Wing rescued a distressed snow-machiner near Freedom Lake, Alaska on Feb. 14, 2020.
Alaska State Troopers contacted the Alaska Rescue Coordination Center for assistance. The AKRCC dispatched rescue forces who evacuated the snow-machiner who was exhibiting signs of hypothermia. The survivor was transported and released to Providence Alaska Medical Center.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — A few dozen Air National Guardsmen returned home from a deployment to Iraq Feb. 7, where they were assigned to Al Asad Airbase in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, providing combat search and rescue operations.
"Aircrew from the 211th Rescue Squadron, aircraft maintainers from the 176th Maintenance Group, and support personnel from other wing units comprised the 64 Airmen from Alaska deployed to the Middle East," said Brig. Gen. Scott Howard, commander of the Alaska Air National Guard. "Alaskan citizens that support our nation and state, so it's truly a fantastic day to have them back."
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Soldiers of the Alaska Army National Guard's 207th Engineer Utilities Detachment implemented new cold-water immersion training at Gwen Lake here Feb. 8. The purpose of the cold-water immersion training is to ensure Soldiers are aware and capable of the self-rescue and buddy-rescue processes when there is a risk of falling through ice.
The 207th EUD also conducted ice bridge training as part of the same cold weather training. The cold-water immersion portion was developed to address the risk associated with the 207th EUD ice bridging project, which they have conducted four times now.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — A few dozen Air National Guardsmen of the 211th Rescue Squadron and supporting Airmen from other 176th Wing units will return from a deployment to Iraq at approximately 4:30 p.m. Feb. 7 at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The 211th RQS operates the HC-130J Combat King II combat search and rescue aircraft. During their deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, 211th RQS Airmen partnered with other CSAR Airmen and were ready to search for and rescue isolated U.S. and allied personnel throughout the region.
JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Verdie Bowen, director of the Alaska State Office of Veterans Affairs, was appointed to the Federal Advisory Committee on the Readjustment of Veterans for a two-year term that began January 1.
Bowen was appointed by Robert Wilkie, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, to serve on what will be his third committee while in his current position. Wilkie additionally requested that Bowen serve as the new chair of the committee.
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