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  • #16
    Well, the Arctic Angels are coming to an Arctic theater near you.

    Army Creating Second Paratrooper Division as Service Forges New Identity for Arctic Troops

    Soldiers stationed in Alaska will soon ditch the 25th Infantry Division's "Tropic Lightning" patch and be redesignated the 11th Airborne Division, in what could be an important step in the Army's recent focus on Arctic warfare.

    Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told lawmakers that the move will give units in the state a clear identity. Soldiers there currently fall under the command of U.S. Army Alaska and wear the 25th Infantry Division patch. But that division is mostly associated with units in Hawaii that train for combat in the jungle, the opposite of Alaska's mission and something leaders and junior soldiers told has been a point of confusion.

    U.S. Army Alaska will be redesignated as the 11th Airborne Division this summer and issued a new patch.

    Read Next: Justice Delayed or Denied: The National Guard Struggles with Handling Accusations of Sexual Assault and Harassment

    "It would be a new common sense of identity for the soldiers there," Wormuth told lawmakers on the Senate Armed Services Committee during a hearing Thursday.

    Some rank-and-file troops and leaders in Alaska told they don't have the proper equipment needed to be the service's premier Arctic force. Some of that is due to its primary vehicle, the Stryker, being ineffective.

    Army Chief of Staff Gen. James McConville and senior leaders in Alaska have told they are skeptical of the Stryker's capabilities in Arctic climates, mostly due to the wheeled vehicles' inability to maneuver effectively off road in the snow and not being built to operate in minus-65 degree Fahrenheit weather, the benchmark commanders in Alaska say is needed.

    "We're looking at the Arctic very differently. This would give the units the confidence all of this would come together," McConville told lawmakers at Thursday's Senate hearing.

    But units there are starved of other critical resources, with some soldiers telling they can't even get ripped uniforms replaced. More importantly, bases in the region have struggled to tackle a growing suicide crisis. That lack of resources has been partly blamed by some on Alaskan units not having a clear identity and thus often being forgotten about by Pentagon planners, something this change is meant to address.

    The move would give the active-duty Army its third named airborne combat unit and its second paratrooper division.

    The two existing airborne combat units are the 82nd Airborne Division based at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, which falls under XVIII Airborne Corps, and the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Europe. The 101st Airborne in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, is airborne in name only; it's actually an air assault division. The Texas National Guard has the 1st Battalion, 143rd Infantry Regiment, the only conventional airborne element of the component.

    Two Alaska brigade combat teams would be most impacted by the redesignation -- the 1st and 4th Brigade Combat Teams of the 25th infantry Division. The 4th is the region's paratrooper element, while the 1st is a mechanized Stryker brigade.

    Those brigades would be redesignated the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams of the 11th Airborne Division. It is unclear whether the move would mean the mechanized troops would convert to paratroopers in the future.

    "The Army is reviewing options to convert the [Stryker] brigade combat team at Fort Wainwright from a Stryker to an infantry unit," Lt. Col. Randee Farrell, an Army spokesperson, told "We are in the midst of consultation with our joint partners to ensure that any potential change enhances the ability of joint force commanders to achieve their mission."

    The changes are yet another move the force is making since the wind-down of the post-9/11 wars, with a shift to focus on conventional fighting and outpacing China and Russia.

    Airborne capabilities haven't been truly tested on a modern battlefield but are built to insert ground troops into enemy territory and to quickly seize critical terrain or infrastructure such as airfields.

    Airborne units gained famed during the invasion of Nazi-occupied France with dangerous jumps that secured key terrain for the success of the allied invasion of Normandy. That legendary battle spurred paratroopers to be the Army's elite force. While still a conventional unit, airborne troops are traditionally called upon first to deploy and are often on high-paced training schedules.

    Yet those tactics were seldom part of modern wars, with the last major use of airborne capabilities being the U.S. invasion of Panama, commonly referred to as Operation Just Cause in 1989. However, there were limited uses of special operations jumps in Afghanistan and Iraq. The last -- smaller -- conventional airborne assault was in Iraq in 2003 when the 173rd Airborne Brigade seized Bashur Airfield with virtually no resistance.

    The 11th Airborne Division's legacy stems from its activation in 1943 during World War II. It fought in the Pacific Theater, where two of its soldiers, Pvts. Elmer Fryar and Manuel Perez Jr., earned the Medal of Honor. The formation was later used to occupy post-war Japan.

    The 11th Airborne was transformed into a training formation at Fort Campbell in 1949. In the 1960s, the division was reorganized into three air assault brigades and designated the 11th Air Assault Division (Test) when the Army was in the early stages of developing tactics using helicopters on the battlefield. The unit was disbanded in 1965, transferring its equipment and personnel to the 1st Cavalry Division.

    -- Steve Beynon can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @StevenBeynon.
    Last edited by Albany Rifles; 05 May 22,, 18:53.
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain


    • #17
      Hint: Snow don't move. Bears do.


      • #18
        Originally posted by Officer of Engineers View Post
        Hint: Snow don't move. Bears do.
        Well considering I have no intention of heading up that way...not to mention I am in my's someone else's problem!
        “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
        Mark Twain


        • #19
          The formal reflagging...and the first issuance of the Arctic tab

          Army re-activates historic airborne unit, reaffirms commitment to Arctic Strategy

          By Joe Lacdan, Army News ServiceJune 8, 2022
          FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska – Several hundred Soldiers gathered in formation within the Alaskan Interior on a bright June morning Monday to take part in the activation of the 11th Airborne Division, posturing U.S. forces for strategic advantage in the harsh Arctic terrain.

          The 11th Airborne Division unites about 12,000 Soldiers in Alaska under one flag, marking the first time that the Army has activated an airborne division in 70 years. During flag ceremonies Monday at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, shortened as JBER, the Army also re-designated the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team and the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, formerly of the 25th Infantry Division, into the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Teams of the 11th Airborne, respectively.

          The activation reaffirms the Army’s commitment to its recently announced Arctic Strategy, which outlines the service’s plan to equip, organize and train with partner units to establish military dominance in the region. The division will be headquartered at JBER and members will wear the unit’s distinctive blue patch with a red and white emblem with angel wings to symbolize the unit’s call sign, “Angels.”
          "Wherever you go, you will be the most highly trained, disciplined and fit Arctic warfighting unit in the world; ready to fight and win," Army Chief of Staff, Gen. James C. McConville said to Soldiers at Fort Wainwright. "That is what you will do. That is who you are. We are counting on you."
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          The activation also serves another purpose. By uniting the Army units as one airborne unit, Army leaders hope the activation can ignite a greater a sense of camaraderie and enthusiasm for Soldiers serving in one of the U.S. military’s most remote and desolate locations.

          In recent months, the Army’s senior leaders have met with commanders at Alaskan installations to address quality of life concerns of Soldiers. Assessments revealed that the previous unit designations did not support unit cohesion.

          “Experience has told us that units that have a common unit identity is a source of pride,” McConville said during a meeting with reporters. “It’s extremely important. And the history of a unit and the patch matter.”

          McConville said the Soldiers of the 11th Airborne Division will be equipped with cold weather gear within the next 1 to 2 years. He added that the unit will serve as the Army’s leading experts for Arctic military operations.

          McConville said that the Stryker Brigade Combat Team based at Fort Wainwright will transition to become a more mobile, infantry-based brigade combat team bolstered with a stronger air assault capability and the skills to maneuver effectively in extreme cold weather environments.

          McConville added that the Army plans to move the armored Strykers out of Alaska by the end of the summer as it continues the acquisition process of Cold Weather, All-Terrain Vehicles or CATVs.

          The 11th Airborne Division originally played a critical role during World War II and the Vietnam War. The Army credits the unit with the amphibious assault landing at Luzon, Philippines, and eventually helped secure the liberation of Manila from Japanese forces.

          “The 11th Airborne Division has a storied history of valor during World War II in the Pacific and also has a proud history of innovation,” McConville said. “So we expect them to live up to the legacy … We expect them to be masters of their craft in Arctic warfighting and extreme cold weather and high altitude and terrain. We expect them to develop innovative ways of operating in this environment.”

          The Army now has a strategically located unit that can quickly deploy to any region, especially those in cold weather climates such as Nepal and India.

          “Their focus will be on dismounted and Arctic mobility and capabilities of sustained operation in the Arctic [and] extreme cold weather,” said 11th Airborne Division Commander Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler. “In addition, they will providing those capabilities in other cold weather environments.”

          Eifler added that U.S. Army Pacific Commander Gen. Charles A. Flynn traveled to Nepal to meet with Nepalese leaders on coordinating more training opportunities with U.S. Army infantry brigade combat teams. Eifler said that includes the possibility of taking part in a joint expedition on Mount Everest.

          Related links:

          U.S. Army Alaska - 11th Airborne Division

          U.S. Army Pacific

          Army News Service

          ARNEWS Archives

          “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
          Mark Twain