AK Delegation: Fort Wainwright Soon Welcoming Gray Eagle “Sky Warriors”
U.S. Army Informs Lawmakers of Basing Decision, Further Reinforcing Alaska’s Military Footprint
Alaska’s Congressional Delegation received good news today from the United States Army, that Fort Wainwright will be the home base for nine “Gray Eagle” Unmanned Combat Air Vehicles. This announcement solidifies the Department of Defense’s investment of manpower and infrastructure in Alaska, the “most strategic location in the world.”
The Gray Eagle Company will bring 128 military personnel and their families to Interior Alaska beginning next month, and represents a major addition of military hardware that complements Alaska’s two combat infantry brigades, the Apache helicopters and Air Force assets.
The U.S. Army also informed the delegation that while the aircraft will be housed at an existing facility in the short-term, it plans to seek constructing for a UAV facility in the President’s 2017 budget.
“Alaska is the tip of the spear when it comes to the Pentagon’s strategic shift to the Asia-Pacific, but the Pentagon clearly sees it as a superior choice to also respond to increasing military activities in the Arctic region,” said Senator Lisa Murkowski. “It was not too long ago that the Department of Defense was taking a closer look at its investment and presence in Alaska; it’s now evident that officials came away from examining Alaska extremely impressed and convinced that we are the optimal location and community for men and women in uniform.”
“Today’s announcement from the Army is the latest in a string of good news for military basing and positioning in Alaska. The Gray Eagle Company will provide benefit to Alaskan service members by allowing them to train as they fight—with support from Gray Eagles, Apaches, and Air Force assets at JBER and Eielson,” said Congressman Don Young. “I proudly supported the procurement of the Gray Eagle in this year and last year’s National Defense Authorization, so I was thrilled to learn they would be positioned at Ft. Wainwright.”
“In an increasingly dangerous world, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability has never been in greater demand,” said Senator Sullivan. “Now more than ever, ground commanders need to see and understand the battlefield, and the Gray Eagle is a critical component for the U.S. Army to do that. Importantly, basing the Gray Eagle at Ft. Wainwright, near the Joint Pacific Alaska Range Complex (JPARC), will give the U.S. Army access to some of the world’s most expansive and robust training ranges. I am pleased to see a company of Gray Eagles on its way to Alaska, and I am hopeful that the U.S. Army will continue to see value in the benefits of Alaska’s great training ranges and strategic location, as the Senate Armed Services Committee already has.”