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U.S Army Alaska conducts Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center 22-02 training exercise

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 5:18 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - An increase in military vehicles on the Richardson Highway and around the Donnelly Training Area in March is a result of U.S Army Alaska (USARAK) conducting The Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center 22-02 exercise (JPMRC 22-02).

On Friday, March 18, 2022, soldiers were conducting live-fire training at the Yukon Training Area (YTA), outside of Salcha, Alaska. The YTA borders Eielson Air Force Base to the north and east, is surrounded on three sides by private land, and is part of the larger Fort Wainwright complex.

Roughly 8,000 soldiers from USARAK and the Canadian Army participated in this cold weather training event.

Military vehicles and personnel will be moving between Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson to the Fort Greely area before and after the exercise dates which are scheduled through March 24, 2022.

Recon Platoon Sergeant Zachary Crevier, with the 1st Battalion 5th Regiment Infantry at Fort Wainwright told us, “Basically using these exercises lets us exercise our skills, train at home, and skills that need to be brushed up upon. So if it was a perishable skill, you come out here and practice them. It stays fresh in the mind so we can use them in further combat situations if need be.”

Crevier says doing these operations in an Arctic environment can be pretty tough on soldiers, vehicles, equipment, and weapons.

“It is a completely different beast. I’ve never done operations in the Arctic. I’ve always been in hot environments, so it was definitely a learning experience,” he continued. “I’d definitely say it is more difficult than say in Afghanistan, Iraq. We are used to hot climates, desert environments, other stuff like that. Mastering tasks and things in the Arctic is completely different.”

JPMRC 22-02 is the first Home Station Combat Training Center rotation in Alaska. This large-scale combat operation included Situational Training Exercises and Live Fire Exercises.

“My favorite part of this exercise would be the handoff between myself and the infantry guys coming through,” Crevier said. “Once we do the reconnaissance handover, and they go and execute their portion of the mission, I would have to say that would be my favorite part.”

Before the soldiers enter the field they have to take a Cold Weather Indoctrination Course. Soldiers learn how to properly wear uniforms and handle the equipment.

“First, you go over a class on how to properly wear uniforms,” Crevier explained. “We have a seven-layer system, so it teaches you how to properly wear that in situations such as this in the Arctic as well as cold-weather training. Level two is basically, you stay out in a tent overnight. It is supposed to be -10° and below, and you basically certify that you know to sustain and survive in colder climates.”

A substantial amount of training and preparation goes into an operation of this scale, according to specialist Elijah Johnson. He is the Team Leader of Charger Company, 1st Battalion 5th Regiment Infantry stationed at Fort Wainwright.

Johnson says JPMRC has been a great experience for him and his team, adding this is a great way to learn from mistakes and build a stronger bond with the team as a whole.

“These training exercises are a huge experience for my team and myself,” Johnson said. “This is the biggest time to learn off of our mistakes, and if we have newer guys we build off of these exercises and get to use equipment that they aren’t used to and build off of that. Everyone gets to have a huge learning experience and they get to learn out of the box.”

JPMRC 22-02 focuses on training and tactics, techniques, and procedures development for deployment operations in an Arctic environment.

According to a press release from USARAK Headquarters in February 2022, the exercise is designed to validate the ability to rapidly deploy a brigade-sized force package quickly and integrate with external elements. It also tests the deployment processes of the units involved and the support agencies, and their collective ability to rapidly prepare and deploy forces for extreme cold weather operations.

Specialist Johnson says he feels an adrenaline rush when the team goes through the live-fire exercises. He says his favorite part of the training is being able to utilize various assets such as mortars, air support, and fire.

Both Crevier and Johnson say the JPMRC 22-02 training is crucial to learning how to operate in the Arctic, and these exercises benefit all those involved by helping them learn to adapt to any variables and build confidence.

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