Alaska Army Paratroopers Jump in Arctic Gear

16 12 2013

Spc. William Baker (left), an infantryman with Charlie Troop, 1st Squadron, 1-40th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, works to secure his equipment in preparation for follow-on movement after successfully exiting a C-130 Hercules Alaska Air National Guard aircraft Dec. 12, 2013 at the Malemute Drop Zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska. Baker and his unit exited the aircraft from the tailgate with a full arctic combat load, demonstrating their unique ability to rapidly deploy troops into arctic environments in response to a variety of contingencies. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Jeffrey Smith/Released)

JOINT BASE ELMDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – For the first time since returning from  Afghanistan last year, U.S. Army Alaska’s 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team  (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division conducted an arctic airborne operation Dec.  12 from a C-130 aircraft onto JBER’s Malemute Drop Zone.

Paratroopers conducted a unique “tailgate” jump, donning the complete arctic  over-white winter uniform with ski equipment and the arctic sustainment packing  list as a rehearsal for upcoming airborne operations in northern Alaska next  year.

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Alaska Soldiers Conduct Arctic Skills Training During ‘Legion Avalanche’

3 12 2013

Pfc. Paul Longale of 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 1-24 Infantry Battalion, a native of Tucson, Ariz., demonstrates an arctic firing position using ski poles as a bipod while on Manchu Range. (U.S. Army photo courtesy 1st Lt. Mathew Manka, 1-24th Infantry)

FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division participated in Operation Legion Avalanche, a battalion training event focusing on developing survival skills and conducting battle drills in an arctic environment.

During this training soldiers focused on primitive methods for fire starting, building improvised arctic thermal shelters, winter travel methods, such as snowshoeing and cross country skiing, arctic marksmanship skills including firing positions, squad-level, fire-control distribution, and platoon-level battle drills.

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New Link: US Army Cold Regions Test Center

24 10 2012

Located in the heart of Alaska, the U.S. Army’s Cold Regions Test Center (CRTC), is the premier cold-weather test facility within the US Department of Defense. The Test Center offers access to more than 670,000 acres of range, controlled airspace, support facilities, and consistently cold weather.

The winter climate is characterized by periods of below-zero temperatures that last from several days to several weeks, with lows occasionally plunging to minus 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The Test Center offers a full range of test capabilities and the professional expertise for all cold-weather tests. Experience in the cold-weather testing of military equipment has shown that such testing requires at least a six-hour block of time in which the ambient temperature remains within test guidelines. CRTC provides the synergistic effects of temperature, wind, and snow in an area large enough to truly represent winter warfare. The CRTC environment allows for mobility, maneuver, and direct-fire and indirect-fire testing that cannot be duplicated in environmental chambers. Additionally, limited winter sunlight provides extended test periods for night-vision systems while temperate conditions and nearly 24 hours of light provide excellent conditions for summer testing.

CRTC’s vision is to be the Department of Defense’s best winter, natural environment test center, providing quality testing by experienced cold weather experts who are always responsive to customer needs.

What they do:

  • Test military tracked and wheeled vehicles.
  • Test manned and unmanned ground and aerial systems and unmanned ground sensors.
  • Test weapon systems (direct and indirect fire), munitions, and small arms.
  • Test Soldier systems and support equipment.
  • Test individual Soldier clothing and equipment.
  • Test mines, explosives, and demolitions.
  • Provide access to numerous primary, secondary, and cross-country test courses for vehicle mobility, reliability, and durability testing.
  • Provide commercial customers with brake, suspension, traction, and handling test courses.
  • Provide access to a state of the art Battle Area Complex/Combined Arms Collective Training Facility (BAX/CACTF).
  • Provide access to assault strips, drop zones, and a Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) site.
  • Utilize United States Army Alaska Soldiers (when available) as test participants/operators during developmental testing.

In a Warming Arctic, U.S. Faces New Security and Safety Concerns

20 10 2012
By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles TimesOctober 19, 2012, 6:00 a.m.

BARROW, Alaska — In past years, these remote gray waters of the Alaskan Arctic saw little more than the occasional cargo barge and Eskimo whaling boat. No more.

This summer, when the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Bertholf was monitoring shipping traffic along the desolate tundra coast, its radar displays were often brightly lighted with mysterious targets.

There were oil drilling rigs, research vessels, fuel barges, small cruise ships. A few were sailboats that had ventured through the Northwest Passage above Canada. On a single day in August, 95 ships were detected between Prudhoe Bay and Wainwright off America’s least defended coastline, and for some of them, Coast Guard officials had no idea what the vessels were carrying or who was on them.

Read the whole article at LATimes
Editors Note: The LA Times and reporter Kim Murphy provide a “Huebertian” overview of why the Arctic is important to US national security and what is and isn’t being done by the American national security planners and leaders.

Image of the Day: Alaskan Snowblower Fix

4 10 2012

Canadian Drones in Alaska’s New Unmanned High Tech Frontier

4 10 2012

An interesting story featuring a Canadian designed and built unmanned aerial vehicle being used in the Arctic.

The firm profiled is Aeryon Labs Inc. located in Waterloo, Ontario.

At first, these drones were used primarily by the military. But Alaskans are finding more and more applications for this technology. Shell Oil has used these aircraft in a pilot project, to watch out for bowhead whales while exploring for oil in the Arctic. BP is looking to use them to improve its oil spill response capabilities.

Some at the conference wondered out loud about how unmanned aircraft might have been useful in preparing for recent floods in Southcentral Alaska. They say the drones, which can fly for hours at a time, might have helped identify places where flooding was imminent.

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And this video showing how the Aeryon Lab Scout was used by the Libyan Rebels.

Oct. 29, 1942: Alaska Highway Built as Hedge Against Invasion

29 10 2010

A caterpillar tractor with grader widens the roadway of the Alaska Highway, 1942.

Until the early 1940s, Alaska was a neglected U.S. territory. The Klondike gold rush of the 1880s and ’90s was a distant memory, and oil had not yet been discovered. There were a bunch of trees and rivers and snow, but nothing really worth exploiting, so the vast wilderness was pretty much left to the bears and the hardy few who lived on the frontier.

Although proposals had existed since the 1920s for building a highway through western Canada into Alaska, the Canadian government wasn’t very keen, and the plans were shelved.

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