Northern Michigan hosting major combat readiness training with thousands of soldiers

About 5,100 soldiers representing the Army, Air Force, Marines, Navy and National Guard will be present
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 1:06 PM EDT
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GRAYLING, Mich. (WJRT) - A large swath of northern Michigan will be abuzz with military for two weeks during a major combat readiness exercise.

Camp Grayling and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center are hosting Northern Strike, which is one of the U.S. Defense Department’s largest reserve combat training maneuvers.

Camp Grayling and the Alpena training center jointly make up the National All-Domain Warfighting Center. About 5,100 soldiers from several states and other countries will spread out across 148,000 acres on the two bases and 17,000 square miles of restricted airspace from July 31 to Aug. 14.

The U.S. Army, U.S. Air Force, National Guard, U.S. Marines and U.S. Navy all will participate in the training. Troops from the United Kingdom, Latvia and Liberia also will be part of the scenarios.

“We are excited to once again host the annual Northern Strike exercise,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Paul Rogers, adjutant general and director of the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs. “This exercise serves as a great opportunity for our multicomponent, multinational and interagency partners to develop into efficient, joint warfighters.”

The Michigan National Guard has been hosting Northern Strike since 2012. The exercise includes a variety of training scenarios to help soldiers and airmen prepare for real-life combat missions, including live fire, close air support, intelligence gathering and battlefield communications.

“Northern Strike is executed in complex field conditions designed to simulate a realistic wartime environment,” said U.S. Army Col. Bart Verbanic, Northern Strike land component officer in charge. “This tests visiting units’ ability to partner and communicate effectively across coalitions and components.”

The military says Northern Strike contributes about $30 million worth of economic activity in the Grayling and Alpena areas every year.

“Planning and executing Northern Strike requires hard work, innovative thinking and significant time investment from multiple military units and industry partners,” said Rogers.

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