Find a Security Clearance Job!

Military


Fort Richardson / Camp Carroll / Camp Denali

Fort Richardson is located amongst picturesque majestic snow-capped mountains, lakes, rivers, glaciers and abounds with wildlife. The post is situated within easy access of downtown Anchorage. Fort Richardson is 2090 miles north of Seattle, Washington and 356 miles south of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Fort Richardson occupies a 25,000 acre area located within the municipality of Anchorage in south-central Alaska. The installation is bounded by the city of Anchorage and Elmendorf Air Force Base to the west and by Eagle Bay and the Knik Arm of Cook Inlet to the north. Fort Richardson's southern and eastern boundaries consist of undeveloped lands and Chugach State Park.

The largest military tenant at Fort Richardson is the Alaska National Guard, with facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Denali. Fort Richardson also hosts several nonmilitary activities, including the Fort Richardson National Cemetery, which belongs to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, and the Fort Richardson Fish Hatchery, run by the State of Alaska.

In July 1994 the 6th Infantry Division (Light) was inactivated and Fort Richardson became headquarters for United States Army, Alaska (USARAK). The mission of USARAK is to command and control United States Army forces in Alaska and provide the services, facilities and infrastructure to support power projection and training to rapidly deploy Army forces from Alaska in the conduct of contingency operations within the Pacific theater and elsewhere as directed.

The primary combat unit at the Fort is the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry, which along with smaller supporting engineer, signal, military intelligence and artillery units, form a readily deployable combat task force in support of the 1st Brigade, 6th Infantry Division (Light) headquartered at Fort Wainwright. The Fort encompasses 62,000 acres, with 47,000 acres available for training.

Elmendorf Air Force Base (AFB) is located adjacent to Ft. Richardson. Fort Wainwright is 300 miles north of Anchorage near Fairbanks. Fort Greely is 350 miles north of Ft Richardson at Delta Junction. Camp Denali is the National Guard Armory located in Fort Richardson. Camp Caroll is the home of the Alaska National Guard Youth Corp Challenge Program. This is a structured "boot camp style" program for at-risk youth ages 16 - 19. Enrollment is on a volunteer basis. Camp Caroll is also located on Fort Richardson.

The Fort is authorized 2,175 soldiers and approximately 3,800 family members reside on post or in the adjacent communities of Anchorage, Eagle River and Palmer. The Fort employs about 1,050 Army and DoD civilian employees. The population of Fort Richardson is:

    Population assigned/served: 15,695 
    Total Military Population:.. 2,390 
    Family Members:............. 3,330 
    Retirees:................... 3,954 
    Civilians:.................. 3,442 
    Reserves:....................  250 
    National Guard:..............  734 
    Family Members (Reserve):... 1,595 
    

Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brigadier General Wilds P. Richardson, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and an 1884 West Point graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon and supervised construction of Fort Egbert, near Eagle, and Fort William H. Seward near Haines. As head of the War Department's Alaska Road Commission during 1905-1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state's settlement and growth. The Valdez-Fairbanks trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway in his memory.

Fort Richardson was built during 1940-41 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base, west of the post's current location. Established as the headquarters of the United States Army, Alaska (USARAK) in 1947, the post was moved to its present location about five miles north of Anchorage in 1950. The early 1950s saw an intensive building program designed to make the post more livable. More permanent barracks, family quarters, warehouses, a service club, underground utilities and a power plant were built. Also, the first streets were paved, the post was landscaped, the first of four school buildings sprang up and the gymnasium and theater were completed.

Three off-post Nike-Hercules missile sites were built in 1959. That December, one of the mighty missiles atop Site Summit (Mount Gordon Lyon) was test fired, marking the first time a Nike Hercules had been fired from an actual operational location. The missile unit was inactivated in July 1979, after more than 20 years of defending the skies over Anchorage.

By 1960, most of the fort's major facilities had been built, including a health and dental clinic, commissary, post exchange and officer and NCO clubs. In 1961, female soldiers were assigned to the post for the first time since World War II. Also that year, the United States Modern Biathlon Training Center was established at the fort. The facility, which trained military and civilian athletes in the Winter Olympic event that combines cross-country skiing and rifle marksmanship, was phased out in 1973.

When the Good Friday Earthquake struck on March 27, 1964, Fort Richardson's soldiers swung into action, performing rescue missions in Anchorage and throughout the state. More than 1,000 soldiers were in the Anchorage area within two days, supplying food, water, communication and medical supplies to the injured and homeless. The post became the focal point of rescue operations for the state for almost three weeks. For some outlying communities, Fort Richardson was the only link with the outside. The post itself suffered an estimated $17 million in damages, minor compared to other areas. However, the Skyline Service Club was nearly destroyed and one man was killed when a section of the building collapsed.

In 1969 and again in 1971, Fort Richardson was presented the Secretary of Defense Citation of Meritorious Achievement in support of the Natural Resources Conservation Program. Also in 1969, the post received the "Conservation Organization of the Year" award from the Secretary of State of Alaska, who commended the post for outstanding achievements in wildlife conservation education and its active scientific research and management of game. That commitment to wildlife enhancement continues today and many species, including moose, bear, fox and eagles, are permanent or transient residents.

In December 1974, as part of worldwide realignments, USARAL was inactivated and the post became headquarters for the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Alaska) in January 1975. As in previous years, subordinate posts were maintained at Fort Wainwright, near Fairbanks, and Fort Greely, near Delta Junction.

In a subsequent realignment in March 1986, the 172nd gave way to the 6th Infantry Division (Light) and United States Army Garrison, Alaska. This marked a new mission for the Army in Alaska as a light, deployable force capable of defending United States interests across the globe. The division became aligned more closely with the Defense Department's forces in the Pacific when, in 1989, it began reporting to the U.S. Army Western Command in Hawaii (later redesignated United States Army Pacific).

In 1990, headquarters for the 6th was moved to Fort Wainwright. In 1993, as part of Army-wide downsizing, the 6th was selected to be reorganized as a light infantry brigade.

In July 1994 the 6th Infantry Division (Light) was inactivated and Fort Richardson became headquarters for United States Army, Alaska (USARAK). The mission of USARAK is to command and control United States Army forces in Alaska and provide the services, facilities and infrastructure to support power projection and training to rapidly deploy Army forces from Alaska in the conduct of contingency operations within the Pacific theater and elsewhere as directed.

The terrain at Fort Richardson varies from flat to rolling hills and forests to steep mountains. Temperatures range from 30 degrees below zero in the winter to 80 degrees in the summer.

Fort Richardson is also headquarters for the major support element of USARAK, the Arctic Support Brigade, as well as the garrison staff. The primary combat unit at the fort is the 1st Battalion (Airborne), 501st Infantry, which along with smaller supporting engineer, signal, military intelligence and artillery units, form a readily deployable combat task force in support of the 172d Infantry Brigade (Separate) headquartered at Fort Wainwright.

The fort encompasses 62,000 acres, with 47,000 acres available for training. Military assets within that area include a heliport, a drop zone suitable for airborne and air land operations, firing ranges and other infantry training areas.

Soldiers stationed at the fort learn the skills of arctic survival and master over snow travel, tundra crossing and glacier and riverine techniques along with their standard military specialties. The command holds extensive field training exercises in Alaska and participates in USARPAC exercises in the Pacific.

The post provides housing, facilities and activities that add up to good military living. There are community services, medical and dental facilities, excellent churches, schools, libraries, a crafts shop, newspaper, a theater, golf and ski courses and cross country trails. Newcomers will find a post exchange, commissary and a large field house. Flying, camping, hunting, fishing, prospecting, gold panning and rock collecting are popular summer activities. Snow machining, ice fishing and skiing round out off-duty recreation in winter for the post's residents.

The largest military tenant at Fort Richardson is the Alaska National Guard, with facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Denali. Fort Richardson also hosts several nonmilitary activities, including the Fort Richardson National Cemetery, which belongs to the Department of Veteran's Affairs, and the Fort Richardson Fish Hatchery, run by the State of Alaska.

Three sources of contamination were identified by the Army but do not represent all known or suspected sources of contamination at the Fort Richardson installation. These sources are the Eagle River Flats (ERF) ordnance impact area, the Poleline Road Disposal Area (PRDA), and the Roosevelt Road Transmitter Site (RRTS).

The Eagle River Flats (ERF) ordnance impact area is located in wetlands associated with the Eagle River delta in the northwestern corner of the installation. ERF has served as the primary ordnance impact area for Fort Richardson since World War II. The ordnance testing area encompasses 2,500 acres of wetlands, which serves as an important habitat for waterfowl such as ducks, geese, and swans during spring and fall migrations. Sediment and surface water samples collected from ERF in August and October 1989 and in 1991 revealed elevated levels of heavy metals, explosive compounds, and white phosphorous. Copper, cadmium, nickel, zinc, and mercury concentrations in surface water wetland samples exceeded the Ambient Water Quality Criteria.

The Poleline Road Disposal Area (PRDA) is located approximately 1.1 miles southwest of the Eagle River. PRDA was identified by a former soldier who stated that hazardous substances were buried there in the 1950s; a 1954 Army Corps of Engineers map confirmed the existence of this disposal area. In 1990, an expanded site investigation conducted by the Army confirmed the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in soil and shallow ground water at PRDA.

The Roosevelt Road Transmitter Site (RRTS) consists of a bomb-proof underground bunker and the remnants of support facilities constructed in the 1940s. In May and June 1990, the Army conducted sampling operations as part of a site investigation follow-up. Analytical results from this investigation indicated contamination by PCBs, VOCs, semi-volatile organic compounds, dioxins, asbestos, and inorganic elements throughout RRTS.

The Eagle River is used for recreational fishing and supports a wide variety of game fish including king, silver, red, pink, and chum salmon; dolly varden; arctic char; rainbow trout; grayling; and whitefish. The river maintains spawning runs of chinook, coho, and pink salmon. Stickleback inhabit salt marshes along the Knik Arm and are common within the shallow ponds and some impact craters within ERF. The American peregrine falcon, a federally-designated endangered species, and the federally-designated threatened arctic peregrine falcon, migrate through the area.

BRAC 2005

In its 2005 BRAC Recommendations, DoD would realign Fort Richardson, AK, by relocating the installation management functions to Elmendorf AFB, AK, establishing Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, AK.

All installations employed military, civilian, and contractor personnel to perform common functions in support of installation facilities and personnel. All installations executed these functions using similar or near similar processes. Because these installations shared a common boundary with minimal distance between the major facilities or are in near proximity, there was significant opportunity to reduce duplication of efforts with resulting reduction of overall manpower and facilities requirements capable of generating savings, which would be realized by paring unnecessary management personnel and achieving greater efficiencies through economies of scale. Intangible savings would be expected to result from opportunities to consolidate and optimize existing and future service contract requirements. Additional opportunities for savings would also be expected to result from establishment of a single space management authority capable of generating greater overall utilization of facilities and infrastructure. Further savings would be expected to result from opportunities to reduce and correctly size both owned and contracted commercial fleets of base support vehicles and equipment consistent with the size of the combined facilities and supported populations. Regional efficiencies achieved as a result of Service regionalization of installation management would provide additional opportunities for overall savings as the designated installations are consolidated under regional management structures. The quantitative military value score validated by military judgment was the primary basis for determining which installation was designated as the receiving location. Assuming no economic recovery, this recommendation could result in a maximum potential reduction of 412 jobs (224 direct jobs and 188 indirect jobs) over the 2006-2011 period in the Anchorage, AK Metropolitan Statistical Area economic area (0.2 percent).

 



NEWSLETTER
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list