Arctic Thrust is an exercise used to validate the U.S. Army Alaska's command ability to rapidly deploy multiple battalion-sized force packages quickly.

The exercise began on Tuesday with two infantry battalions from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team who were alerted at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, for a notional short-notice deployment requiring moving the units to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.

Stryker vehicles were loaded onto an Air Force C-17 Globemaster aircraft at Fort Wainwright, then unloaded at JBER.

"We're not actually going to move every single piece of equipment and every single person out of each of those battalions," U.S. Army Lt. Col. Martyn Crighton said. "They will move a substantial amount. About 60 strykers thereabouts will be making the move."

Around 1,000 to 1,400 soldiers are making the deployment to JBER. Once on base, whether by air or train, part of the installation support they go through is being put in barracks. The soldiers will stay for further training, including unit training next week at Fort Richardson -- including live fire training.

"The exercise is not a complete surprise for the battalions," Lt. Col. Crighton said. "There is a lot of planning involved, making sure ammunition is on hand. It's the process of start to finish of getting them ready to deploy and then actually leaving where you are stationed and going somewhere else."

This exercise is one example of how U.S. Army Alaska ensures readiness for worldwide deployment, at a moment’s notice.

This week's exercise includes Army and Air Force units and personnel, and the supporting agencies and commands at Fort Wainwright, Eielson Air Force Base and JBER -- as well as the Alaska Railroad.

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