Sen. Dan Sullivan: Team of Apache helicopters likely moving to Fairbanks

ANCHORAGE — Twenty-four AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and their crews likely are headed to Fort Wainwright, U.S. Sen. Dan Sullivan said Tuesday.

Roughly 400 personnel also will be headed to the Army post in Fairbanks, Sullivan said in a written statement. The plan is “pre-decisional” and pending environmental impact statements and approval by the secretary of the Army, said Sullivan’s press secretary, Mike Anderson.

According to Defense News, at defensenews.com, the Army’s assistant deputy chief of staff for operations, Maj. Gen. Gary Cheek, told reporters in Washington, D.C., on April 14 that Apache helicopters from Germany are set to be transferred to Fort Wainwright. In a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Sullivan had questioned Cheek about the Arctic and what Sullivan described as increased Russian military activity in the region, Defense News reported.

“The Pacific and the Arctic are critically important regions to our national security and the decision to bring the AH-64 Apache to Fort Wainwright reflects that,” Sullivan said in the statement. “I am excited to see what the highly mobile and lethal platform can do in Alaska’s (training areas) with its arsenal of Hellfire missiles and a 30mm automatic gun.”

Sullivan, R-Alaska, said a company of a dozen MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial vehicles would be paired with the Apaches. Defense News reported that it remained unclear where in Alaska the UAV’s would be stationed.

Sullivan praised the Army’s consideration of stationing the aircraft in Alaska, considering the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, or BCT, at Fort Wainwright and the 4th Brigade Combat Team is at JBER.

“Pairing 24 of the most advanced aerial fighting vehicles in the world with the (intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance) capabilities of the soon-to-arrive Gray Eagle company shows that the Army understands how valuable and Alaska’s training ranges are,” Sullivan stated. “I am hopeful that the Army will use this same wisdom and keep both BCTs in Alaska as our state is rapidly becoming the home for much needed combat power in the Pacific.”

By:  Casey Grove
Source: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner