Secretary of the Army Visits JBER
Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark T. Esper visits Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska on the second day of his tour Aug. 9, 2018. Esper did PT with the 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, met with 2nd Battalion, 196th Infantry Brigade and US Army Alaska... (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

HEADQUARTERS, U.S. ARMY ALASKA, JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- The 23rd and current Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark T. Esper visited Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Fort Wainwright and Fort Greely on a tour of Army assets in Alaska last week.

Esper conducted physical readiness training with Soldiers from the 25th Brigade Support Battalion, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on Tuesday and Soldiers from 6th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) on Thursday.

During the visit, Esper got an up close look at USARAK, the Alaska National Guard, and some Air Force capabilities in Alaska. He met with Family members, Soldiers, Department of the Army Civilians, and separately, members of the media in a joint press conference with U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan, from Alaska.

Both Sullivan and Esper emphasized geographical location when highlighting Alaska's strategic importance with Esper accentuating Alaska being in a prime location to deal with threats from China and Russia.

"It doesn't take much to look at the map and understand Alaska's geography with regard to Russia and China," Esper said, "Not just geography, but then knowing how to operate, function, and as I like to say, deploy, fight, and win in an arctic environment."

"We are the cornerstone of our nation's missile defense. We are the hub of air combat power for the Asian Pacific and the Arctic," said Sullivan. "We are a platform for expeditionary forces, the 4-25, the 1st Stryker Brigade, the Army National Guard, to deploy on a moment's notice anywhere in the world."