By Lee Revis
Editor, Valdez Star 

Hundreds of troops and responders set to drill in Valdez for two weeks

Arctic Eagle exercise runs through March 8 and is held in areas across Alaska


February 21, 2018

Hundreds of air and army troops from Alaska’s National Guard have been shuttling into Valdez in anticipation in the 2018 Arctic Eagle exercise.

The statewide exercise began officially Tuesday and runs through March 8 according to Lt. Colonel Candace Olmstead.

“Approximately 1,100 Air and Army National Guardsmen are set to participate in Exercise Arctic Eagle,” she said in a press release Monday. “Arctic Eagle 2018 is a statewide exercise involving national, state and local agencies designed to provide opportunities for participants to conduct sustained operations in arctic conditions.

The exercise will consist of scenario-based events at multiple locations according to the National Guard.

In addition to Valdez, staging areas will include spots in Anchorage, areas near Ft. Greely, Bethel, Kwethluk and Quinhagak in Western Alaska; along the Alaska-Canada border, and areas north of Fairbanks.

“The scenarios include hazardous material detection and response, security and protection of critical infrastructure, triage, domain awareness patrol, communication and transportation support,” Olmstead said.

The exercise is important.

“Training is crucial to ensure the Alaska National Guard maintains the highest levels of proficiency and readiness to respond as needed by our state and nation,” said Maj. Gen. Laurie Hummel, adjutant general of the Alaska National Guard and commissioner for the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “The Alaska National Guard has successfully operated in extreme cold-weather conditions in and near the Arctic region for more than 75 years.”

The stated goals for the exercise is to get the “participating forces to operate in a joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environment; assess ability to conduct sustained operations in arctic conditions, and integrate new and emerging capabilities.”

The remote areas, differing weather and various and differing agencies involved will help train all personnel in the event of a real emergency.

“This is a highly complex training exercise that includes federal, state and local emergency participants in a combined response to several challenging scenarios,” said Hummel.

The National Guard says other entities involved with the exercise includes other National Guard forces Colorado, Connecticut, Indiana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington and Wyoming, in addition to participation by the Alaska State Defense Force.

Other agencies participating in the event include the Canadian Rangers, Canadian Brigade Group, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Army Alaska, U.S. Army Reserves; federal participation by the Environmental Protection Agency; State of Alaska Departments of Environmental Conservation, Health and Social Services, Public Safety, and Transportation; and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs’ Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.


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