The effect of the 172nd’s deployment on Alaskan communities

Deployment blues

Fairbanks Daily News-Miner:

With the last five soldiers of the 3,800 member Stryker Brigade Combat Team leaving today for an anticipated yearlong deployment to Iraq, Fairbanks is already experiencing a noticeable void. While the greatest pains will be felt by friends and families of the soldiers, the local economy is already noticing the effects of the largest Army deployment out of Alaska since the Vietnam War, which not only means thousands of soldiers are deployed for the year, but that some of their families are also leaving the area.

The loss of 3,800 Stryker Brigade soldiers and about 20% of their families (who are moving to the Lower 48, at least temporarily) will have a significant impact on local businesses over the next year. Fortunately for Ft. Wainwright in Fairbanks, a couple of Aviation units will be arriving in a few months, one back from Iraq and one transferred from Korea, so that the blow should be softened a bit.

As has been noted in virtually every single news story on the 172nd over the past year, this is the largest military deployment from Alaska since the Vietnam War.