Military News

Editor’s note: The following is the first in a series of stories about members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division injured in combat during the 3,500-member “Spartan” brigade’s 10-month deployment to Afghanistan, which lasted from Dec. 2011 to Oct. 2012.


On June 1, 2012 Sgt. Maj. Michael Van Engen had just finished eating lunch in the mess hall at Forward Operating Base Salerno in Southern Afghanistan when all hell broke loose.

What’s it take to be a military wife?

Just ask Meghan Wieten-Scott.

Military Spouse magazine recently named Wieten-Scott as Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson’s Military Spouse of the Year. She’s also in the running for the overall Army Spouse of the Year. That winner will be announced today (Thursday, Feb. 21).

Should Wieten-Scott win the Army branch award, she’d be up for the overall Military Spouse of the Year honor.

Unbeknownst to Wieten-Scott, her friend and fellow military wife, Jess Paden, nominated her for the award.

A 25-year-old Palmer man is facing federal charges after he allegedly crashed his pick-up truck through the Boniface gate of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson around midnight Jan. 19.

According to a complaint filed in U.S. District Court, Kyle Hansen illegally entered through the Boniface gate, then led security officials on a chase around the base before crashing through the gate and fleeing. He was captured at around 9 p.m. at the Eagle River home of his friend Shawn McKenna after Anchorage Police received an anonymous tip.

I always wanted to come to Alaska. I will admit to pushing my husband to put Alaska high on his wish list. I didn’t know much about the frontier state. But I did know that almost everyone I talked to who was stationed in Alaska loved it. The one exception was my father, who isn’t a big fan of snow. Driving to Alaska, on my way to live here for at least three years, I was quite ignorant to what life here would be like.

In the 1980s, a famous recruiting commercial claimed the U.S. Army does “more before 9 a.m. than most people do all day.”

That’s still the case.

Well before dawn on the morning of Jan. 31, more than 200 members of the Army’s 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry Regiment arrived under cover of darkness at the foot of Arctic Valley Road. Carrying 35-pound rucksacks and decked out in their camouflage combat uniforms, the men briefly listened to instructions from their platoon leaders before springing into action.

A soldier from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson has been charged with the Christmas death of Private 1st Class Grant Wise.

Specialist Marshall Drake, 23, was charged Wednesday with involuntary manslaughter, negligent homicide and failure to obey general regulations, according to a statement released by JBER.

According to JBER, Drake allegedly killed Wise by shooting him with a firearm.

I love living in Alaska. I love the mountains and the snow. I would so much rather be cold than hot. Eagle River is the perfect place to raise my family with its small town feel and wonderful people. Most of the downsides have upside trade-offs. There may not be an Old Chicago’s restaurant here, but there is a Pizza Man. Days may be really short in December, but they are long in June. Nonetheless, there is one huge downside to living here: the isolation from family and friends in the Lower 48.

Ten days ago, Technical Sgt. Brian Stiles marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to celebrate the swearing in of President Barack Obama in front of thousands of spectators as a member of the 2013 Inaugural Parade in Washington, D.C.

Just another day of work.

Stiles, a 1993 Chugiak High graduate, is a trumpeter in Ceremonial Brass — one of six United States Air Force bands.

Nearly 100 Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson soldiers are set to deploy in the next week or so for a nine-month tour in Afghanistan.

Their mission is anything but standard.

Typically tasked with construction — building roads, bridges, etc. — the 84th Engineer Support Company (Airborne), 6th Engineer Battalion will now be protecting such infrastructure. The 84th Engineer Support Company, whose nickname is the “Kodiaks,” will be responsible for finding and neutralizing improvised explosive devices.

The change in assignment is the first for the Kodiaks.

As another year passes, two load crews competed for pride and a plaque in the 3rd Wing Load Crew of the Quarter competition Jan. 4. The objective of the load competition was to test the abilities and work ethic of two or more load crews from different fighter squadrons.

The 90th and 525th aircraft maintenance units train consistently to be proficient at their jobs and to compete in quarterly loading competitions. The instructors of the load crew members strive to make sure their crew members are trained to keep the mission running smoothly.