JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska – The Indiana National Guard is participating in joint force exercise Arctic Eagle 2020 alongside civilian and federal agencies and about 900 other Air and Army National Guard members from 15 states Feb. 20 to March 7.
“Large scale joint exercises like this are mutually beneficial for all agencies,” said Sgt. 1st Class Tyler Sprout, the noncommissioned officer in charge of the 19th CERFP search and extraction platoon. “We get the opportunity to utilize our skill sets in a realistic and challenging environment alongside the civilian entities and military partners we would work with in a real-life scenario.”
Arctic Eagle 2020 is a statewide exercise in Alaska that allows national, state and local agencies to conduct sustained operations in the extreme cold-weather conditions found in Arctic environments.
“It’s cool to see how easily things come together when you have a large number of people from different backgrounds but the same fundamental training,” said Cpl. Shelbylynn Hulse, a Soldier with the search and extraction Bravo team. “My team has task force one, Marines and Utah National Guard members on it. Seeing how quickly we could all work as a cohesive team to complete the mission was encouraging.
The goals of Arctic Eagle 2020 are to leverage federal training requirements to improve the capability of National Guard units to execute civil support missions, facilitate combat readiness training and improve nationwide federal lethality.
“We have a great working relationship with the National Guard,” said McKay Wadley, a rescue team manager with Utah task force one out of Salt Lake City. “Working with different branches of the military can have learning curves, but it’s one of the best ways to train because when we deploy out into real-life disasters, we work with them. This training directly ensures we can all speak the same language and save lives.
With human activity increasing in the Arctic region, National Guard states, in partnership with partner nations, active duty forces, local, state and federal agencies, are prepared to support the global challenges of Arctic operations and security.