Alaska Army National Guard
|Alaska Army National Guard|
Seal of the Army National Guard
|Branch||Army National Guard|
|Type||ARNG Headquarters Command|
|Part of||Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs|
|Garrison/HQ||Fort Richardson, Alaska|
The Alaska Army National Guard is a component of the United States Army and the Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. Alaska Army National Guard units are trained and equipped as part of the United States Army. The same ranks and insignia are used and National Guardsmen are eligible to receive all United States military awards. The Alaska Guard also bestows a number of state awards for local services rendered in or to the state of Alaska.
As of 2006, the Alaska Army National Guard was composed of approximately 1850 soldiers and maintains 77 armories and other facilities, including Fort Greely.
The Alaska Army National Guard was originally formed in 1940-41. However, since the Second World War, the Alaska Army National Guard had not seen significant overseas deployments. It appears that the 207th Infantry Battalion was active in the state after the Second World War, with its distinctive unit insignia and coat of arms originally approved on 4 June 1952. However it was rescinded (cancelled) on 10 May 1960.
This changed in 2004 when a company of infantry was mobilized to serve in Iraq, serving with the Hawaii Army National Guard's 29th brigade in 2005. In 2005 through 2008 smaller detachments were deployed to both Iraq and Afghanistan. An infantry battalion was deployed to the middle east in 2006, and another infantry company was deployed to Iraq in 2007. The Alaska Army National Guard's aviation units have seen a series of company sized rotations to Iraq, unfortunately including the loss of a helicopter and crew in January 2006.
These deployments seem small in comparison to the units that other states have deployed. However given the small size of Alaska's population and National Guard they represent a very large percentage of the Alaska Army National Guard. When young men are deployed there is a particular impact on smaller "Alaska Bush" villages that have a subsistence lifestyle.
The 49th Missile Defense Battalion (GMD) is an Alaska Army National Guard unit that is permanently on active duty at Fort Greely, as part of the 100th Missile Defense Brigade (GMD).
The Alaska Army National Guard regularly sends soldiers to train in Mongolia as part of the State Partnership Program. In addition, the Mongolian Army deployments to Iraq were typically accompanied by Alaska Army Guard members. Now that the Mongolian Army has shifted its focus to Afghanistan, Alaska National Guard soldiers accompany them there.
In 2007 the original insignia of the 207th Infantry Battalion was readopted for use by the 207th Regiment; the insignia was reinstated and redesignated for the 207th Regiment with the description and symbolism revised on 7 April 1997.(TIOH)
In 2008, the Alaska Guard began transforming the 207th Infantry Group into the modular 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade. It had originally been intended to become the 207th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, prior to the National Guard Rebalance Initiative. In addition the 38th Troop Command was stood up to provide command and control for miscellaneous units.
- 297th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade
- 38th Troop Command
- 49th Missile Defense Battalion, 100th Missile Defense Brigade, Fort Greely (United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command)
- 103rd WMD Civil Support Team
- The Institute of Heraldry
- Information on all of these deployments is available at the Alaska DMVA website, for example http://www.ak-prepared.com/dmva/press-releases/11Nov06%20patch.pdf, which conveniently lists them. However the .pdf format may not be suitable for reference links if users have limited bandwidth.
-  Alaska Department of Military and Veteran's Affairs, Accessed 1 July 2010.
- Alaska National Guard, accessed 20 Nov 2006
- GlobalSecurity.org Alaska Army National Guard, accessed 20 Nov 2006
- Alaska Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, 2010 Annual Report
- Bibliography of Alaska Army National Guard History compiled by the United States Army Center of Military History