Arctic Tough: US Army Alaska competes to find toughest soldiers

Published: Mar. 5, 2021 at 6:12 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - A constant wind whips across the landscape as Staff Sergeant Jason Singleton works to find coordinates on a map. He is one of soldiers competing in this years US Army Alaska (USARAK) Winter Games at the Black Rapids Training Site to find the most ‘Arctic Tough’ soldier in USARAK. Singleton and his teammates make up Team 2, the Automatics. They are one of four teams, two from Fort Wainwright and two from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson competing in the event.

“The first event was the tent drill today, then the last event that we just did was the hypothermic casualty,” Singleton said. After a short break it was time to go to the next event, a recon of a reported enemy observation point.

“So we want to get as close as we can without being seen and then basically we want to report back if the enemy is still there,” said First Lieutenant Matthew Rambin who is on Team 2. He went on to say that this is something they do in the real world, “[When you get] deployed a lot, this is a common activity. You have last known location based off of UAS feed and you might get boots on the ground out there to confirm whether that enemy is still in that location.”

They also competed in sled pulling, skijoring, biathlon and other arctic activities that the military trains in. These tasks all help the soldiers be better in the real world.

“Doing all this, it builds the soldiers character, it builds their resiliency and also their skill craft,” said Command Sergeant Majoy Travis Autry of the 2nd Battalion, 8th Field Artillery Regiment stationed at Fort Wainwright. His soldiers make up the Automatics.

The soldiers spent two days in the cold competing in the timed events. On Friday, the competition was complete with Team 3, the Geronimo’s from JBER coming in first. The Automatics finished second.

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