By Christopher Dennis
USARAK Public Affairs NCO
FORT GREELY, Alaska — As a civilian, Bradford Jackson runs his own video marketing firm. The son of an Army Ranger, he is also one of Alaska National Guard’s newest public affairs mass communication specialists.
Pfc. Jackson was part of a five-person team with the Alaska National Guard’s 134th Public Affairs Detachment (PAD), based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, whose video and photographic expertise helped put into view the significance of the Joint Pacific Multinational Readiness Center (JPMRC) 22-02 exercise, held March 14 - 24, 2022, in Donnelly Training Area, near Fort Greely, Alaska.
JPMRC 22-02 is the first regional combat training center rotation held in the frozen tundra of Alaska and is the foundation of the U.S. Army’s Arctic Strategy, aimed to improve individual and collective training of units operating in the harsh, Arctic region. Over the course of the exercise, more than 8,000 U.S. and Canadian Soldiers and equipment maneuvered in deep snow, across steep uplands and through thick, Alpine terrain, sometimes operating in temperatures as low as minus 24 against howling, bone-chilling winds.
The riveting still and video images provided by the 134th PAD’s mass communication specialists captured one of the largest military exercises held in Alaska, pitting Soldiers and equipment against one of the world’s most inhospitable environments in Alaska’s premier military training area, which spans more than 674,000 acres.
The team’s photos, videos and feature article have initially reached about 140,000 people through Defense Video Imagery Distribution System and U.S. Army Alaska’s (USARAK) social media accounts over 15 days, reports Benjamin Wilson, chief of Command Information with USARAK Public Affairs Office (PAO).
“The 134th Public Affairs Detachment were awesome,” said Wilson, who was part of the USARAK PAO team capturing, reporting and managing the flow of news touting the exercise. “Whether working with the rotational training unit, Special Forces, or Allied forces, they represented themselves and the U.S. Army in a competent, professional manner. They came up with fresh perspectives and brought diversity and creativity to our team of seasoned veterans.”
Their contributions have amplified USARAK’s overall communication efforts, increasing the public’s awareness of the training being done to realize the new Army strategy, and in doing so, they’ve captured the attention of the highest levels of the Army National Guard.
“One of the things we want to make sure is we are integrated and operating with our active duty and reserve brothers and sisters, and this presents a great opportunity for us to do that,” said Lt. Gen. Jon A. Jensen, the director of the Army National Guard, as he toured parts of DTA. “Plus, the Alaska Army National Guard are experts in this climate.”
According to Capt. Jessie Delker, commander of the 134th PAD, one of their stronger suits is the ability to adapt to change when needed.
“We arrived prepared to sleep in a tent and embed with the rotational unit,” said Delker. “We quickly realized that plan would not be feasible for this exercise. The Soldiers adjusted and accomplished the mission.”
As a permanent fixture in the state known as “The Last Frontier,” the Alaska National Guard is uniquely suited to operate here with unique vehicles and equipment, such as the Small Unit Support Vehicle or the 10-man Arctic Tent, explained Delker.
The five-person team, though small in number, were a force multiplier, said Wilson, who added, “We quite literally could not have done this without them.”