Military officers in Anchorage said Wednesday that Alaska-based soldiers will start deploying to Afghanistan within the week.
Over the course of the coming month, the Army is sending about 1,200 members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division from Anchorage’s Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
Most of the soldiers will be sent to the eastern part of the country, according to Maj. David Cochrane, the unit’s operations commander.
Troops will be advising and assisting Afghanistan security forces.
“We’re partnered with both the Afghan police — uniformed and border police — and then the Afghan national Army,” Cochrane said. “We’re really wanting to help them become more capable, and more able to defend their own nation, to conduct their own missions, and be independent of outside help.”
While the training mission ahead is much less combat-oriented than the unit’s last deployment to Afghanistan from 2011 to 2012, Cochrane cautioned that it’s still dangerous working in a warzone.
All the service members set to deploy have been told they are going, but officers admitted that communicating those specifics to individuals and families has been a point of confusion over the last few weeks.
The issue stems from how the Army is coordinating unit rotations for the advise-and-assist missions in Afghanistan.
Cochrane said it’s a somewhat new development that only a portion of a unit like the 4-25 would be deployed for a role like this, while the majority of its personnel and equipment remains back at the unit’s base.
News that members of the 4-25 would be heading to Afghanistan was announced in April, and is not connected with President Donald Trump’s recent decision to send several thousand more troops to the country.
- The event was intended to be a victory lap for Murkowski and Young, who were at the Anchorage Petroleum Club speaking about successfully opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge for oil development.
- Ketchikan independent Rep. Dan Ortiz, introduced House Concurrent Resolution 19, which calls for Gov. Bill Walker to “issue an administrative order recognizing a ‘linguistic emergency'" for Alaska Native languages.
- Sixteen senators voted yes to SJR4, which urges Congress to exempt legally obtained walrus, mammoth and mastodon ivory from other laws that ban ivory.
- In February, Petersburg High School students joined teams from around the state in an 20th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl regional competition in Seward.