When people think of Alaska, the mind creates igloos, polar bears and penguins. Many do not consider that the State of Alaska is a primary location of defense for the United States and North America. It is just 55 miles at the narrowest part from Alaska to Russia. It is imperative that the United States has a defense against possible attacks via the Alaska entry.
The Alaska Army National Guard is a huge part of guaranteeing the defense of the United States. On top of Federal defense, the Alaska Army National Guard also has responsibilities at a State level. The men and women who serve in the Alaska National Guard assist in disasters and other needs of the local population.
In today’s post,we are going to look at 14 cool facts about the Alaska Army National Guard. If you have more facts you can add to this, feel free to do so in the comment section at the end of this article.
1: Formation Of The Alaska Army National Guard
The Alaska Army National Guard was formed long before Alaska became a State. The Alaska National Guard was formed in 1940, and Alaska became a State in 1959.
2: Alaska Army National Guard Headquarters
The Alaska Army National Guard Headquarters are at Fort Richardson, Alaska. In 2010, the nearby Air Force base: Elmendorf was merged with Fort Richardson. It is now Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
3: Number Of Armories
Throughout Alaska, the Alaska Army National Guard controls and maintains 116 Armories and are present in over 85 communities.
4: Active Units Of The Alaska Army National Guard
At the current time, these are the active units under the Alaska Army National Guard umbrella:
297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade is based at Fort Richardson, and below it is 1st Squadron, 297th Cavalry Regiment in Fairbanks with Troop A (Fairbanks), Troop B (Kenai), and Company C (Fort Richardson); 297th Signal Company; 207th Brigade Support Company.
103rd Weapons Of Mass Destruction Civil Support Team based at Fort Richardson.
207th Multi-functional Training Regiment.
297th Military Police Company based in Juneau, Alaska, with 14 detachments located all over Alaska.
Many of these units have scattered subordinate units underneath them.
5: Missile Defense
A huge mission for Alaska Army National Guard members is missile defense. I had mentioned earlier how close Alaska is to possible enemies. The post at Fort Greely is manned by soldiers trained in missile defense. They not only have to monitor the interceptor missiles that are in underground silos, but they also have to live in extreme conditions. It has dropped as low as 63 degrees below zero. From May to July, the sun shines nearly 24 hours per day, and from November to January, it is completely nighttime. It is these forces that make sure no missiles will come in through Alaska airspace.
6: Partner With Mongolia
The Alaska Army National Guard is a partner with Mongolia through the State Partnership Program. The Alaska National Guard sends soldiers to Mongolia to train and vice versa. The Mongolian Army has been a huge participant in Afghanistan, and Alaska Army National Guard often accompany Mongolian soldiers there.
7: Commander In Chief Of The Alaska Army National Guard
The Commander In Chief of The Alaska Army National Guard is the Governor of the State of Alaska. The Governor of Alaska utilizes an appointed Adjutant General as their spokesperson. The current Adjutant General is Brigadier General Laurie Hummel. In 2012, BG Hummel retired from the United States Army at the rank of Colonel. Upon returning to Alaska, Governor Bill Walker appointed Hummel as the Adjutant General. When Alaska Army National Guards are deployed to Federal service, the Commander In Chief becomes the President of the United States.
8: Commander Of The Alaska Army National Guard
In March of 2015, the Alaska Army National Guard received a new Commander. Colonel Joseph Streff was given the honor following Brigadier General Mike Bridges. Colonel Streff began as an enlisted soldier with the Alaska National Guard in 1987. He attended flight school and was soon elevated to Warrant Officer One Helicopter Pilot. Soon after, he graduated from Officer Candidate School and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant. He rose through the ranks to where he is today. Colonel Streff has won various awards including:
Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters
Army Commendation Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters
Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medal with 1 Star
National Defense Service Medal
Global War On Terrorism Service Medal
Humanitarian Service Medal
Air Assault Badge
Excellence In Competition Pistol And Rifle Award
Just this year, wildfires have ravaged the Alaska countrysides. The Alaska Army National Guard were on a mission to control these fires. The 1st Battalion, 207th Aviation Regiment used their Blackhawk helicopters to drop thousands of gallons of water on these fires. These helicopter crews worked around the clock, switching out crews so the ones working could rest. Other National Guard troops worked as ground crew helping citizens water down property and working directly with fire crews.
Alaska Army National Guard Goes Social
If you want to know more about the Alaska Army National Guard, you may want to just look at the social networks. They have found their way all over the internet.
10: Alaska Army National Guard on Facebook
Yes, the Alaska Army National Guard can be found on Facebook. With over 8,000 followers, you can also follow all the Alaska National Guard’s updates here.
11: Alaska Army National Guard on YouTube
The Alaska Army National Guard has posted some interesting videos. They include:
And this one where the Alaska Governor talks about Alaska National Guard Appreciation Day:
12: Alaska Army National Guard on Instagram
13: Alaska Army National Guard on Flickr
You can find more great photographs of the Alaska Army National Guard uploaded on Flickr. Go see them all here.
14: Alaska Army National Guard on Twitter
You can always find out the latest happenings at the Alaska Army National Guard by following them on Twitter. If nothing else, just #hashtag# AKNationalGuard and tell them how much you appreciate the work they do. You can find their Twitter feed here.
The men and women who serve in the Alaska Army National Guard have some special missions. They are so close to possible enemies of the United States, and they have to work in weather conditions that many of us do not have a clue about.
If any of you reading this are members of the Alaska Army National Guard, we would love to hear from you. What is it like working in the great white North?
If you have any questions or comments, you can post them below. If you have considered joining the Alaska Army National Guard, you can contact them at any of those social feeds, and they will explain where you should go.
Thank you for visiting, and have a great day.