400 ‘Arctic Angels’ land in Fort Wainwright for Forcible Entry Operation exercise

The paratrooper combat training event is the first of its size and scope that’s happened at the Fairbanks U.S. Army installation
400 “Arctic Angels” land in Fort Wainwright for Forcible Entry Operation exercise
Published: Mar. 26, 2023 at 8:44 PM AKDT
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FORT WAINWRIGHT, Alaska (KTUU) - Four hundred U.S. Army paratroopers, known as Arctic Angels, from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson dropped onto Fort Wainwright in Fairbanks early Sunday morning.

It was all part of the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center-Alaska Exercise, which is designed to help prepare them for cold weather combat operations.

This is the first time that number of soldiers have dropped into Fort Wainwright as part of an exercise of this scale, according to John Pennell, chief media relations with the U.S. Army 11th Airborne Division.

“The Arctic has been kind of pushed to the forefront in most people’s thoughts with the global climate change, the melting ice caps, the opening up of the Northwest Passage,” Pennell said.

Because the airfield is bordered on multiple sides by the Chena River, a river rescue team was in place on both sides of the waterway, the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Wainwright said in a statement. No significant injuries were reported during the training exercise and all of the jumpers landed on the airfield, according to the statement.

There will be more training operations like this in the coming days to help prepare and exercise the military’s strength for cold weather and air operations, Pennell said.

“It’s incredibly important as we regain our Arctic focus for the soldiers here in Alaska,” he said. “We’ve gone, you know the 20 years of global war on terrorism where we had kind of gone away from our bread and butter which is functioning in the environment here in the Arctic.”

Military representatives from Chile, Nepal, Mongolia, Norway, Germany, Canada, Finland, Italy and Japan were also involved in the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center Alaska operation.