Army Alaska was officially re-designated as the 11th Airborne Division in ceremonies held Monday at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.
The Army’s two Alaska-based brigade combat teams will now be renamed the 1st and 2nd Brigade Combat Teams, 11th Airborne Division.
Army Alaska spokesman John Pennell said that the new unit at Wainwright will not be on jump status.
“The airborne brigade at JBER will retain its airborne status but the Stryker brigade up here [at Wainwright] will be turning in their Stryker vehicles and transforming into a light infantry brigade,” he told Army Times.
Soldiers with the 11th Airborne at Wainwright “will be focused on dismounted operations in the extremes that Alaska has to offer,” Pennell said.
Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told senators in May that the changes in Alaska, which will also involve establishing an operational headquarters, are expected to be cost-neutral in the immediate future. Even the manpower added to the upgraded headquarters would come out of the reformed Stryker brigade.
“We will be looking at basically having that division headquarters have sort of the same types of capabilities that you see in the 173rd in Italy, for example,” Wormuth said, referencing the 173rd Airborne Brigade, a strategic response force for U.S. European Command.
Wormuth also said in May that Army Alaska’s Stryker vehicles could be reused elsewhere in the force or cannibalized for spare parts.
Rachel is a Marine Corps veteran, Penn State alumna and Master's candidate at New York University for Business and Economic Reporting.