United States Army Alaska
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United States Army Alaska (USARAK or "America's Arctic Warriors"〔) is a military command of the United States Army located in the U.S. state of Alaska. A subordinate command of the United States Army Pacific, USARAK is the ground element of the Alaskan Command. USARAK is headquartered at Fort Richardson and commanded by a major general.
==The 1950s: USARAL==
The Army established the Yukon Command at Ladd Air Force Base as a component of the U.S. Army Alaska (USARAL) with the mission of point defense of U.S. military installations north of the Alaska Range. Consequently, infantry and anti-aircraft units comprised most of the Army presence at Ladd AFB during the 1950s. Elements of the 4th Regimental Combat Team arrived at Ladd AFB in 1950, and the 1st Battle Group, 9th "Manchu" Infantry Regiment took its place in 1956. At some time by December, 1957, the 1st Battle Group, 9th "Manchu" Infantry was split between Ladd AFB and Eilson AFB, with the headquarters being at Eilson AFB and some of the line companies (C Company, for one) remaining at Ladd AFB. That configuration remained until at least December, 1959. The 4th AAA Group was stationed at Ladd until 1958. In 1959, a NIKE battalion equipped with nuclear-capable Nike Hercules surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) took over the interior defense mission.
Later two battalions of Nike missiles were stationed in Alaska: 4th Battalion (later 1st Battalion), 43rd Air Defense Artillery, and 2d Battalion, 562nd Air Defense Artillery Regiment. The two battalions and their direct support ordnance companies fell under the command of the USARAL Artillery Group, headquartered at Fort Richardson.〔U.S. Army Alaska, 'Nike Operations in Alaska,' Chapter 4〕 The Group was directly responsible to the USARAL Commanding General for Army participation in the air defense of Alaska, which involved Nike Hercules batteries, fighter interceptors, and the associated early warning radars and communications systems.
In 1964 the USARAL Air Defense Artillery Group, composed of two Nike-Hercules missile battalions, was activated and moved its offices from Building 1 to building 656, Fort Richardson. The USARAL Air Defense Artillery Group was renamed the 87th Artillery Group (Air Defense) in January 1968.〔Woodman, Duty Station Northwest, Vol. 111, p. 154, cited at http://nikealaska.org/87th/87th.html〕 4-43 ADA defended Anchorage while 2-562 ADA provided area defense around Fairbanks. The 4/43 was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery in 1971. It was at that time that the 2/562 ADA was deactivated. In March of 1971 the Department of the Army announced its decision to close the remaining Fairbanks area missile sites of the 2/562 Artillery, the 166th Ordinance, and the 87th Artillery Group by the end of June 1971.
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