Military News

Air Force Col. Patricia Csank is about to make Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson history.

On Friday, Csank will become the base’s first female commander when she takes over command of the Air Force’s 673rd Air Base Wing during a 10 a.m. ceremony on the base. The 673rd Air Base Wing is responsible for installation management on the joint base, which was formed in 2005 when Elmendorf Air Force Base and Fort Richardson Army Garrison combined into a single entity. According to JBER, the 673rd maintains an $11.4 billion infrastructure encompassing 79,000 acres north of Anchorage.

JBER — All or nothing. It’s pain and stress management. There’s a constant little bird in the back of your mind chirping away that you might not make it. If you don’t make it, you just spent months of training and a bunch of money to watch your dream pass you by.

U.S. Army 1st Lt. Max Pippa’s mind was racing as he pushed his body to its limits during the final stages of preparation in an arduous journey for greatness.

Alaska’s congressional delegation of Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, and Rep. Don Young have released their service academy nominations that include several local students.

“This year’s selection of candidates was exceptional — all exhibited the characteristics that will help them to succeed as leaders in our nation’s military: academic excellence, demonstrated leadership, and a commitment to serving their community and nation,” said Senator Sullivan.

Alaska’s 72,000 veterans will continue to receive care under a program that the state office of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs took pains to reconfigure over the past 18 months.

The Veterans Choice Program received an additional $2.1 billion in December, just weeks prior to the three-day government shutdown on Capital Hill.

A 23-year-old Airman stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson died Nov. 6 while training in the Republic of Korea.

According to a press release, Airman 1st Class Darrick Jones joined the Air Force in 2015. He was on temporary assignment in Korea when he collapsed and died.

“Airmen with Jones at the time immediately rendered aid but were unable to revive him,” read the release.

Jones was a water and fuels systems apprentice assigned to the 773rd Civil Engineering Squadron.

Members of the Alaska National Guard are on their way to Texas on a humanitarian mission to help that state recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Harvey.

The guard’s 176th Wing left Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Monday, Aug. 28 bound for Moffett Air Field in California, according to a press release issued Monday. After arriving in Texas, the guard members will assist in any way they can.

If there’s a big construction project on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, there’s a good chance Joel Spano had something to do with it.

As a lead quality assurance representative for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Spano “is responsible for providing mechanical support for military construction projects across Alaska,” according to a press release issued by the Corps’ Alaska District Office.

The Army picked the right morning to hold a big event.

“What a beautiful day,” said Gen. Robert Brown, commander of U.S. Army Pacific, who was in town to preside over a change of command ceremony for U.S. Army Alaska (USARAK).

Taking the unit colors under a dazzling blue sky Wednesday was Maj. Gen. Mark O’Neil, who has served as Brown’s chief of staff since May of 2016. O’Neil takes over for Maj. Gen. Bryan Owens, who is retiring from the Army after 34 years of service.

Commander of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 176th Operations Group, Col. Thomas Bolin calls Eagle River home.

“We like to say — as corny as it sounds — we’re your hometown Air Force,” he said, speaking to members of the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce at a meeting at the Eagle River Ale House May 3.

Six Chugiak-Eagle River teens will travel to Nevada later this month to represent Alaska at the Pacific Coast Regional Civil Air Patrol Color Guard Competition in Reno.

The members of the Birchwood Composite Squadron won the state competition on Saturday, April 8 on Joint Base Elmendorf Richardson. The daylong event included tests of the team’s skills as a color guard as well as physical fitness and public speaking.

“It was exhausting,” said cadet Bryan Lilly, the group’s commander.

As he spoke, Lilly’s fellow squad members nodded in agreement.

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