Military News

Alaska’s congressional delegation of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young have released their service academy nominations that include several local students.

“This year’s selection of candidates was exceptional — all exhibited the characteristics that will help them to succeed as leaders in our nation’s military: academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a commitment to serving their community and nation,” said Senator Sullivan.

Alaska’s 72,000 veterans will continue to receive care under a program that the state office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs took pains to reconfigure over the past 18 months.

The Veterans Choice Program received an additional $2.1 billion in December, just weeks prior to the three-day government shutdown on Capital Hill.

A 23-year-old Airman stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson died Nov. 6 while training in the Republic of Korea.

According to a press release, Airman 1st Class Darrick Jones joined the Air Force in 2015. He was on temporary assignment in Korea when he collapsed and died.

“Airmen with Jones at the time immediately rendered aid but were unable to revive him,” read the release.

Jones was a water and fuels systems apprentice assigned to the 773rd Civil Engineering Squadron.

Members of the Alaska National Guard are on their way to Texas on a humanitarian mission to help that state recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

The guard’s 176th Wing left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Monday, Aug. 28 bound for Moffett Air Field in California, according to a press release issued Monday. After arriving in Texas, the guard members will assist in any way they can.

If there’s a big construction project on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, there’s a good chance Joel Spano had something to do with it.

As a lead quality assurance representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Spano “is responsible for providing mechanical support for military construction projects across Alaska,” according to a press release issued by the Corps’ Alaska District Office.

The Army picked the right morning to hold a big event.

“What a beautiful day,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, who was in town to preside over a change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK).

Taking the unit colors under a dazzling blue sky Wednesday was Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff since May of 2016. O’Neil takes over for Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, who is retiring from the Army after 34 years of service.

Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Operations Group, Col. Thomas Bolin calls Eagle River home.

“We like to say — as corny as it sounds — we’re your hometown Air Force,” he said, speaking to members of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce at a meeting at the Eagle River Ale House May 3.

Six Chugiak-Eagle River teens will travel to Nevada later this month to represent Alaska at the Pacific Coast Regional Civil Air Patrol Color Guard Competition in Reno.

The members of the Birchwood Composite Squadron won the state competition on Saturday, April 8 on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. The daylong event included tests of the team’s skills as a color guard as well as physical fitness and public speaking.

“It was exhausting,” said cadet Bryan Lilly, the group’s commander.

As he spoke, Lilly’s fellow squad members nodded in agreement.

Paratroopers with the Army’s “Spartan” brigade are heading out …and staying put.

The Army announced on Friday plans to keep the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division at its current size while also sending 1,500 members of the 5,000-soldier brigade to Afghanistan.

In 2015, the Army announced the brigade would be downsized and converted to an airborne task force.

Fit and ready for action, the Army’s only airborne brigade in the Pacific now has a new leader.

Col. Paul Larson assumed command of the Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division during a ceremony Friday, March 24 on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. Larson takes over from Col. Scott Green, who was credited with making a number of improvements to the brigade’s fitness during his 28-month stint leading the “Spartan” brigade.

“His troopers are eating healthier than ever,” said Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, commander of U.S. Army Alaska.

Pages