Side Trips from Anchorage AK

Going to the Field in Alaska

During the three plus years that I was stationed in Alaska, my Mortar Platoon spent a disproportional amount of the year in the field compared to the rest of the battalion. Whenever an individual rifle company deployed, we went with them; whenever the entire battalion deployed, we went; and every time that we had to complete a mortar evaluation to fire our M252 81mm Mortars, we went by ourselves. Literally, we would return from a deployment, maintain and repair our equipment, and then pack for the next deployment before going home for our occasional days off.

A soldier experiencing the field environment in Alaska is exposed to a series of extremes. During Winter, the Anchorage area is relatively mild (-20 F) compared to the center of the state (-88 F). The benefit is that everything is hard-packed, and you can maneuver almost anywhere. As Summer approaches and the snow melts, the ground is cold and wet and soft, making maneuver difficult. But most surprising, during the brief arctic Summer, temperatures in the interior can soar to 115 F. Quite an experience.

AK-tent.JPG (125960 bytes)
Here I'm pictured entering an arctic tent.
The terms cold and miserable come to


Glacier Training, Kenia Peninsula AK 1991

One of the unique environments that I experienced was the glacier. Surviving on the glacier requires teamwork and some technical mountaineering skills. Because many glaciers produce their own weather, conditions can change rapidly. Fog, rain, and the dreaded white-out can cause climbers to become disoriented, resulting in dangerous situations.

AK-glacier.JPG (102617 bytes)
I am pictured (rear) with one of my soldiers preparing to
exit the glacier. (Platoon Sergeants are always last in
order of movement.) Ice axes, ropes, and crampons are
key tools visible in the photo.


NTC, Ft. Irwin CA & JRTC, Ft. Chaffee AR 1992

In order to maintain interoperability with heavy armored and motorized Army units, the 6th Inf Div deployed to the Lower 48 and participated in major training exercises including the National Training Center at Ft. Irwin CA and the Joint Readiness Training Center at Ft. Chaffee AR.

ak-endex 1992.JPG (82102 bytes)
I am pictured in front of my HMMV after
a very cold, rainy night in the California
desert at NTC.


Cobra Gold, Khorat, Thailand, 1992

In between our regular exercises in Alaska and the Lower 48, the 6th Inf Div also fulfilled its requirement for worldwide deployment, including deployments to Japan, Okinawa, Egypt, and Thailand.

thai-home.JPG (88011 bytes)

thai home.JPG (68447 bytes)

Pictured is our home at a Thai Army base outside of
Khorat, Thailand.
Pictured is my lieutenant, attempting to sleep--he's wearing his West Point shorts--during the day at about 120 degrees F.

thai-plt.JPG (79984 bytes)

thai-rain.JPG (71813 bytes)

Pictured is my very under-strength Mortar Platoon
that deployed to Thailand. Authorized strength was
27; all 15 members were present for the photo.
Here I'm pictured with Namporn, the lady that ran the kitchen where we regularly ate. The storm had just blown down half of the tent, and I was recruited to hold the roof up while the Thais re-secured the lines.


The ALCAN Highway, 1993
(4,400 miles & 65 Days Traveling from Alaska to Texas)

When my wife and I moved to Alaska, we didn't have time for any sightseeing. So when we left Alaska, I took 65 days leave. We leisurely drove down the ALCAN Highway. Starting at Anchorage in late April, we drove north out of Spring and back into Winter and then drove east through central Alaska to the Canadian border. As we drove south and east, we descended down to Whitehorse, Yukon Territories, and back into Spring. Climbing up into the Rocky Mountains, again we encountered Winter. Crossing the Rockies a total of five times, we spent an enjoyable ten days in Canada. We eventually entered the Lower 48 at Glacier National Park MT. Exploring Glacier National Park and then Yellowstone National Park, we crossed the Continental Divide four more times. One of the pleasant surprises of the journey was the Big Horn Mountains in Wyoming, but the biggest disappointment was Mount Rushmore. The remainder of the trip was anticlimactic. We stopped in Iowa, Alabama, Florida, and then Louisiana to visit relatives en route to Ft. Hood TX. What an enjoyable vacation.

alcan-car.JPG (50207 bytes)

alcan-pets.JPG (90603 bytes)

Pictured is my wife and the methodically packed
Subaru that we drove down from Alaska. When we stopped for the night, we unloaded the car in order--pets and pet food then clothes. Everything had to be repacked in sequence so that it would fit.
Pictured is my wife and our three pets that accompanied us on the trip.
Left is Tiger (Male, American Tabby Cat, 14 lbs.). Center is Baloo (Male, Grey Persian, 20 lbs.).
Right is Duchess (Female, Black Lab, 88 lbs.). Doesn't my wife look like she is having fun.

Return to Travels

Military Home