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News | March 5, 2020

N.H. Guardsmen Participate in 'Arctic Eagle 2020'

By Spc. Mark Hayward

The New Hampshire National Guard participated in a three-week exercise from Feb. 20 to March 7 across multiple parts of Alaska. The exercise was in support of Alaska National Guard’s Arctic Eagle 2020.

Three New Hampshire Guard units were involved in the training – the 12th Civil Support Team, Alpha Company, 1/169th General Support Aviation Battalion, and a contingent from the 114th Public Affairs Detachment.

“For the first portion we focused on interoperability with not just first responders, but other civil support teams,” said Capt. William Scull, 12th CST operations officer. “There were five CSTs, federal and local agencies, and we also brought two NH state police bomb technicians.”

Training in a sub-zero climate was also a part of Arctic Eagle. An element from the 12th CST traveled to Bethel, Alaska on Feb. 29 to conduct radiation detection training in a remote extreme cold weather location.

“They were very good training lanes,” Scull said. “The company that put it on did a fantastic job. Working with different agencies, the FBI, Alaska State Police, and Fairbanks police was great.”

“The extreme cold weather had an effect the equipment, but not as much as we planned on,” Scull added. “Things actually worked much better than we thought they would.”

Alpha Co., 1/169th GSAB loaded and off-loaded its Black Hawks (from a cargo aircraft) as part of its training exercise. The company also performed sling load missions as well as “hot loads” (when troops board an idling helicopter).

“This training has been a great opportunity for the unit to perform transportation of the actual aircrafts,” said Sgt. Patrick Combs, a crew chief with the 1/169th. “The extreme cold weather was a big part of our planning for this exercise.”

Arctic Eagle included National Guard forces from Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, Utah, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

The goals of Arctic Eagle 2020 were to leverage federal training requirements to improve capability of National Guard units to execute civil support missions, facilitate combat-readiness training to improve federal lethality, prompt partnerships to conduct multi-component and multi-national integration, and to incorporate innovation with operational test programs.