A Military Base
. Self-proclaimed "America's Artic Warriors." This 62,000 acre
facility is located near Anchorage
has mountains, rolling hills, and forests on the base. Temperatures range from 30 degrees below zero
to about 80 degrees in Summer
. It is near the southern central part of the main body of Alaska
Named after Brigadier General Wilds P. Richardson
, a Texas
native and West Point
) graduate, he had commanded troops in the Yukon
and kept tab
s on the construction of Fort Egbert
and Fort William H. Seward
Most of the early road
s, and bridge
s in the state, helping to ensure
the state's growth could be contributed to his tenure as War Department's Alaska Road Commission
's head from 1905
. Specifically, he survey
ed the Valdez-Fairbanks
trail, which was renamed Richardson Highway
in his memory.
The Fort itself was built during 1940-1941 on what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base. In 1947, it was declared HQ of USARAK (United States Army, Alaska) . In 1950, it was moved to where it is now, about five miles north of Anchorage, Alaska.
During the 50's, someone realized the post was still very rugged for the soldiers and their families, so a plan came to being to make the place more homey. More barracks, Family Housing, storage areas, a Service Club, underground facilities, and a power plant were built, along with four schools, a gymnasium, and a theatre. Also, the streets were paved.
And then they built missle batteries for Nike-Hercules Missiles in 1959, and in December, the one site on top of Mount Gordan Lyon was fired. The units were deactivated in July, 1979.
In 1961, for the first time since WWII, female soldiers were assigned to the base. Also, a facility was put in place to train Olympic athletes for a biathilon.
When the giant 1964 Earthquake hit Alaska, the soldiers became rescuers. Over a thousand soldiers were in Achnorage within two days, and was the center point for rescue efforts. The facility suffered "minor" damage, amounting to about $17 million, and a man was killed when a section of the Skyline Service Club fell on him.
A surprisingly large chunk of the activities on the base is dedicated to managing natural resources, specifically wild animals.
In January, 1975, the post became HW for the [172nd Infantry Brigade, other, subordinate, posts were located at Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely, by Delta Junction.
In 1986, the 6th Infantry Division (Light) and United States Army Garrison, Alaska, came intot he base, displacing the 172nd, and this helped, theoretically, with US intrests and the Defense Department's ideals about the Pacific. In 1989, it began reporting to U.S. Army Western Command in Hawaii.
In '90, HQ for the 6th was moved to Fort Wainwright. In 1993, due to downsizing, the 6th was changed to a light infantry brigade.
The fort has about 2,175 soldiers and 3,800 family members located near the base, in places like Anchorage
, Eagle River
. There are about one thousand civilian employee
Their web page (!), where much of this was gathered is: www.usarak.army.mil/frapage.htm