In mere minutes, Army paratroopers recently turned a quiet, empty field into a battleground. The more than 500 paratroopers who filled the skies were members of the Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division, which dropped onto the Malamute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson as part of a massive three-day training mission designed to simulate the quick takeover of hostile enemy territory.
Austin, my younger son, goes off to camp this week, God Seekers camp at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak. I’m not sure I’m prepared for him to leave for three days. It’s not that he is going off without me, but that I’m sending him completely alone, without brother or sister as well. Whenever I leave them, I feel comfortable knowing that all three have each other’s backs. If I forget to tell the babysitter every rule, detail, or peculiarity about my children, the others will take care of it. They know just what to do to make each other feel better. They care for each other and look out for each other all the time. I never worry about a thing when I know they are together.
Collette Ohotnicky has proven her mettle to JBER residents by organizing the construction of the Upper Otter Lake Nature Trail. This trail was constructed to provide residents with a path to traverse the north side of base and take in all of JBER’s scenery.
I spent the last week down in Colorado with family. We gathered together to comfort each other in the loss of one of our own, my cousin’s beautiful daughter Breezy, age 17. She suffered from a rare blood disorder, Glanzmann’s Thrombasthenia. Last year she underwent a bone marrow transplant to cure the disorder. Unfortunately, as she was recovering her compromised immune system could not fight off an infection and she passed away. We all miss her vibrant personality, but know she is completely healed in heaven.
Airmen and civilians of 673d Security Forces Squadron performed their annual high-risk response training during Police Week, training that is part of a Pacific Air Forces-wide program. The U.S. Air Force partnered with Analytical Services Incorporated to conduct a diverse range of high-risk response exercises. Headquartered in Shirlington, Va., ANSER is a public service research institute that worked with the Air Force in 1958 to help with the research and development of more proficient ways of assessing situations that threaten the security of America and its people. A cadre consisting of ANSER senior analysts devised several exercises, which utilized the concepts of responding to high risk situations.
Hundreds of people respectfully roamed the sun-drenched grounds of the Fort Richardson National Cemetery Monday during the facility’s Annual Memorial Day Service. “This is a day for both mourning and meaning,” said Glenn Madderom, Chief of Cemetery Improvements and Development for the National Cemetery Administration.
Five Alaska Air National Guardsmen with the 212th Rescue Squadron became the first group to reach the 20,320-foot peak of Mount McKinley this year, summiting North America’s tallest mountain May 9.
I got to spend the last week in St. Petersburg, Russia. A group of six from my church went to help facilitate an English camp and experience as much Russian culture as we could in one week. I felt for foreign travelers to the United States who struggle with language barriers. So many Americans have the attitude “You’re in America, speak American,” yet I was in Russia unable to speak Russian. My language skills were limited to yes, no, and my name is — “da,” “neyt,” and “menya zavut.”
After nearly seven decades, George Miller finally received the Distinguished Flying Cross he earned while serving in World War II. The wait was well worth it for the 87-year-old Peters Creek man.