Alpena County, MI — July 26, 2021
No, it’s not an invasion. Although, it may look like one. The Department of Defense has scheduled one of its largest reserve component readiness exercises to be held in Northern Michigan from July 31 to Aug. 14.
On Thursday, August 5, 2021, Michigan Highway M-32, in the vicinity of the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center in Alpena County, is going to be used by airmen from the Michigan Air National Guard’s 127th Wing stationed at Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the Air Force’s 355th Wing from Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Arizona, and Air Force Special Operations Command from Duke Field, Florida, participating in the military exercise.
They will be landing C-146 and A-10 aircraft on a closed portion of the public roadway.
The closure of M-32 will include a section of the highway East of Herron Road to the West of King Settlement Road. Traffic will be prohibited from 8 am to 1 pm. Residents are encouraged to avoid the area.
In a publication from the United States Army, Penelope Carroll and Staff Sgt. Tristan Viglianco of the Michigan National Guard provided official details.
Northern Strike 21-2, one of the Department of Defense’s largest reserve component readiness exercises, is scheduled across Northern Michigan from July 31 to Aug. 14.
Approximately 5,100 participants from various states and countries will converge at the National All-Domain Warfighting Center (NADWC) for training focused on expeditionary skills, command and control, sustainment, and joint integrated fires.
The NADWC encompasses the Camp Grayling Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. The training area consists of 148,000 acres of maneuver space and more than 17,000 square miles of special-use airspace.
“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. Training like we may be called on to fight is critical in preparing to confront a near-peer adversary in the future.”
The Michigan National Guard began hosting Northern Strike in 2012, and it has grown into a joint, multinational exercise. Participating units conduct scenario-based, full-spectrum readiness training and complete mission essential tasks.
Michigan’s Northern Strike exercise is sponsored by the Army and Air National Guard and accredited by the Joint National Training Capability.
“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 exercise focuses on joint arms live-fire training, close air support, joint fire support, coordinated maneuver with fires, and air mobility, including command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence of theater air-ground system in decisive action scenarios.
“What sets Michigan’s NADWC apart from all other training installations is the ability to build readiness capacity for all warfighting functions in a contested multidomain training environment that enables joint integration at echelon,” Verbanic said.
This year’s exercise will feature participants from all three Army components, Air Force active duty and Guard, and Marine and Navy components. Units from the United Kingdom, Latvia, and Liberia are also expected.
In addition to the military participants, a contingent of attendees will focus on innovation and technological improvements. Members of military research agencies and industry partners plan to address challenges across the spectrum of military operations, including artificial intelligence, software and communication improvements, automated equipment, and space operations.
“Planning and executing Northern Strike requires hard work, innovative thinking, and significant time investment from multiple military units and industry partners,” said Rogers. “Our hard work has set Michigan’s NADWC and the Northern Strike exercise apart as one of NGB’s premiere training destinations.”
Alpena County is located on the shores of Lake Huron on the Easternmost side of Michigan’s mitten, near the tip.