End of an era: Strikers left Fort Wainwright

Fairbanks, Alaska (KTVF) – As the season turns to cooler temperatures, a new chapter is being written in Fort Wainwright as Stryker cars are loaded onto rail cars heading south to their new locations.

This is the last shipment of Stryker vehicles out of installation since operation began in July.

β€œSo today we are loading the last Stryker vehicle. There are approximately 86 vehicles leaving, and that will be the end of the line,” said Deployment Specialist Joe Waldro in the 402nd Army Field Support Brigade.

Getting the Strykers out before the snow fell was a priority. Where to go, you don’t have to worry about snow. The last stop will be at Anniston Army Depot in Alabama. Twenty Stryker vehicles will go to Joint Base Lewis McCord in Pierce County, Washington for reinstallation, and the rest will be sent to Anniston.

The soldier gestures to Stryker to get to the carriage
The soldier gestures to Stryker to get to the carriage(Julie Swisher)

When it comes to morale, Valduro stated, “The soldiers are very excited to leave Stryker today. They’re looking, excited about the new equipment they’re going to get and they’re excited to get it out of here and get out of there.”

New equipment such as a CATV or cold weather ATVs are more suitable for cold weather environments such as inland and arctic regions.

Chief Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Peterson, with the 11th Airborne Brigade, said Strikers’ departure is the end of this phase of the transition. What this means for the Army, he added, is to switch priorities and focus on more units stationed in the Arctic, to be lethal, and to do things here in the Arctic that no one else in the world can do. Peterson says moving from Stryker to other platforms will allow the military to do just that.

“After tomorrow when we do some jacking there won’t be any more in Fort Wainwright. We still have some other components of Stryker that we’ll be getting rid of for a while, but this is the most obvious, so Fort Wainwright won’t look the same after tomorrow when Stryker is gone, Peterson said.

Strikers lined up to leave Fort Wainwright
Strikers lined up to leave Fort Wainwright(Julie Swisher)

Peterson explained that there are several Stryker battalions in the Army. β€œThere is only one division focused on the North Pole, and we are the northern part of that division,” he said, adding that the 11th Airborne Division will focus on new missions and things that the military has not focused on before. β€œWe have to focus on it and write a new chapter,” he said constantly.

Peterson also said that the Stryker Brigades have their own culture within the military. “For example, one of the civilians working with Prime Minister Stryker was here when we stood Strykers in the early 2000s,” he said. β€œAnd now he’s here shutting it down. So everyone in the Stryker community knows each other, and that is [Fort Wainwright] It was always the really unique Stryker unit that was out in the north and in the cold, doing things that Strykers wouldn’t normally have the chance to do.”

For soldiers who work with Strykers, Peterson said there aren’t many who work just with vehicles. Those who do may have the option of staying and doing other mechanical work or they will move to another unit.

This marks the end of an era for Fort Wainwright’s Stryker Brigade, but it’s also a new chapter, with new opportunities for the future ahead.

Marked Stryker "the last" To denote the last download from Strykers leaves the installation
Stryker flagged “Last One” to indicate the last Strykers upload to leave the installation(Julie Swisher)

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