JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska — Gen. James McConville, chief of staff of the Army, visited Arctic Angels at Fort Wainwright and Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, May 5, returning to Alaska for the first time since the activation of the 11th Airborne Division, June 6, 2022.
Alaska was the first stop on his Indo-Pacific tour visiting Allies and partners in the region.
McConville began his trip at Fort Wainwright, meeting with garrison and 1st Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division command teams, as well as subordinate unit leaders.
Following on-the-spot promotions during a barracks tour, McConville conducted a mass reenlistment ceremony and recognized six Soldiers chosen for their contributions to the division. Hours later, he did the same for the paratroopers of 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) at JBER.
“The Arctic Angels have come a long way since their activation,” said McConville. “I’m just as confident today that the 11th Airborne Division is the right unit for their unique mission supporting the Indo-Pacific and the execution of Army’s Arctic Strategy.”
Staff Sgt. Joseph Feola, a member of the two-person team who recently won the Army’s best CBRN competition from 95th Chemical Company, 17th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, was among the Soldiers recognized by McConville in front of the division headquarters.
“It felt good to be recognized by the chief of staff of the Army,” said Feola. “Winning matters, and it’s moments like this that prove it.”
The 11th Airborne Division and its two Alaska-based brigade combat teams, represent more than 11,000 Soldiers who are charged with dominating the Arctic and supporting operations in the Indo-Pacific, the Army's priority theater.
“It’s one of the unique parts of being in the 11th,” said Maj. Gen. Brian Eifler, commanding general of the 11th Airborne Division. “But, having two separate and distinctly different garrisons does provide us a tactical advantage you don’t see anywhere else in the Army.”