Army might bring back the 11th Airborne Division to replace Army Alaska

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Nicholas Waytkus, the strike team noncommissioned officer in charge assigned to the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron, recovers his parachute during airborne training on Malemute Drop Zone at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 17, 2020. The 3rd ASOS’ special warfare Airmen conducted airborne operation training to retain the qualifications that ensure mission readiness in an arctic environment. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Emily Farnsworth)

The 11th Airborne Division is potentially making a comeback and seeks to attempt a takeover of US Army Alaska.

In light of low morale and high suicide numbers among arctic-based troops, Army Secretary Christine Wormuth told lawmakers that a change to the 11th Airborne may be the boost of identity the cold warfighters need.

“We are looking at…reflagging the U.S. Army Alaska headquarters as the 11th Airborne Division,” she said

Wormuth hopes that the change to the historic -but long deactivated- 11th Airborne will raise morale.

“Some of the soldiers there don’t feel like they have a sense of identity or purpose around why they’re stationed there,” Wormuth said. “We’re not adding or subtracting force structure…It’s really more of a new sense of common identity for the soldiers up there.”

According to the Army Times, the Army is looking to increase the size of its forces -favoring divisions over GWOT-era Brigade Combat Teams- and is currently implementing its new Arctic Strategy to prepare for possible conflict with China and/or Russia.

If established, the 11th would train specifically to fight in the Arctic climate.

Stryker fighting vehicles will likely not be a major component of the new cold weather force, due to their failure to hold up in Alaska’s cold weather.

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