FORT GREELY, Alaska – During the first cold snap of the season, Army Lt. Gen. Daniel L. Karbler, the commanding general of U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command, visited Fort Greely, Alaska, Nov. 1-3 to see the existing and emerging strategic capabilities here firsthand.
Making his first official trip to Fort Greely, set 90 miles southeast of Fairbanks, Karbler met with the Soldiers, contractors, and civilians who operate, maintain and secure the assets here that defend the homeland from intercontinental ballistic missile attack.
“Everywhere I went, I saw great quality of life, great spirit, enthusiasm, and teamwork in an environment where it got down to 27 degrees below zero,” said Karbler. “I never saw any quit in anybody. They are called the ‘Rugged Professionals’ at Fort Greely for a reason and I could not be prouder of them.”
Karbler visited facilities within the garrison including the Post Exchange, commissary, Soldier housing and quality-of-life amenities. He also toured the Missile Defense Complex that houses 40 of the nation’s 44 anti-ICBM ground-based interceptors. That number will soon grow as construction continues to build another missile field where 20 additional GBIs are planned for emplacement as part of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense System.
“The Missile Field 4 construction project is incredible,” Karbler said. “I was briefed by the contractors, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Missile Defense Agency and the other partners out there who are working in such an extreme climate. They told me they have learned lessons from the build-out of the existing missile fields that they are applying to the Missile Field 4 development.
“I saw a high spirit of teamwork and cooperation to keep construction on schedule, despite the conditions,” said Karbler. “I am excited about our ability to provide additional missile defense capability to defend America.”
During his visit, Karbler was able to familiarize himself with the counter-unmanned aircraft systems that have recently been added at Fort Greely, including the Corian system. A modular, scalable mission technology system, Corian detects, identifies, tracks, and reduces UAS threats.
“Any measures that we can take to improve the protection of the site are critical and Corian is one of those capabilities that we are bringing online,” Karbler said. “They are training on it; they are writing the doctrine for it. I’m thrilled about having this additional ability to keep Fort Greely protected.”
Karbler also took the opportunity to meet with whom he called the Army’s “unsung heroes” – the Soldiers of Ground-based Interceptor Military Police Security Company, 49th Missile Defense Battalion, Alaska Army National Guard, who guard and secure the Missile Defense Complex around the clock.
“The military police up are bundled up, on patrol and prepared to respond to any event that might affect the missile defense sites,” he said. “They’re motivated and I really enjoyed talking with them.
“When we talk about the 300 defending 300 million, those Soldiers should know they’re a part of that, and they take their job seriously because they want America to know that they’ve got their back 24/7.”
Due to timeline and COVID-19 restrictions, Karbler was not able to meet with all the personnel who live and work at Fort Greely but shared a message to those he missed.
“I am immensely proud of the work you’re doing,” he said. “I’m proud of the sense of community and teamwork on display everywhere I went. Everyone I met was enthusiastic about what they were doing; they were incredibly friendly and professional. Thank you.”