Murkowski Comments on Army’s Decision to Split Base the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, today commented on the Army’s announcement to split base the 16th Combat Aviation Brigade presently stationed at Fort Wainwright with Joint Base Lewis-McChord (Fort Lewis) Washington.

“With speculation that the Army would relocate the entire 16th Combat Aviation Brigade to the lower 48, I am relieved at the Army’s decision to split base the brigade and keep most aviations assets at Fort Wainwright, including the additional placement of three Medevac helicopters next year.  In Alaska we’ve long known that the effectiveness of Army ground troops on the battlefield is strengthened when they have an opportunity for real world training with aviation assets prior to deployment. This is a key reason that the Fort Wainwright based Stryker Brigade Combat Team has been so effective on the battlefield.  Recognizing the need for soldiers to train as they fight, the Army has decided to increase the aviation assets available to soldiers at Fort Lewis, Washington and Fort Carson, Colorado which host multiple Brigade Combat Teams but have no Combat Aviation Brigade.

“In this era of diminished resources, that means that Fort Wainwright needs to share its aviation assets in the interest of national security. While the immediate effect of today’s decision is the loss of ten helicopters from Fort Wainwright, I have been assured by senior Army leadership on multiple occasions that the training and readiness of the Army in Alaska will not be diminished. I have also been advised that these developments will not weaken the mission or role of Fort Wainwright.  These have been my key objectives in conversations with senior Army leaders over the past year. I will continue my efforts to increase the aviation assets available to Army troops in Alaska through my work on the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.”

Click here to view Department of Defense’s announcement.