History of Fort Richardson
When Alaska became the 49th State in 1959, the Army was there. Only the indigenous peoples of Alaska have been there longer. Today, the Army thrives in Alaska: training in unforgiving arctic conditions, actively participating in community affairs and providing assistance in natural disasters.
The US Army’s long and important history in the Great Land began at the very moment Alaska became American soil, October 18, 1867.
Elements of the 9th Infantry were on hand as the Russian Golden Eagle was lowered and the Stars and Stripes was raised in Sitka, which became headquarters for the U.S. Military District, Alaska. The Army has had a presence, if very small at times, ever since.
Fort Richardson was named for the military pioneer explorer, Brig. Gen. Wilds P. Richardson, who served three tours of duty in the rugged Alaska territory between 1897 and 1917. Richardson, a native Texan and in 1884 a West Point Graduate, commanded troops along the Yukon River and supervised construction of Fort Egbert near Eagle, and Fort William H. Seward (Chilkoot Barracks) near Haines.
As head of the War Department’s Alaska Road Commission during 1905-1917, he was responsible for much of the surveying and building of early railroads, roads and bridges that helped the state’s settlement and growth. The Valdez-Fairbanks Trail, surveyed under his direction in 1904, was named the Richardson Highway in his honor.
Fort Richardson was built during 1940-1941 on the site of what is now Elmendorf Air Force Base. Established as the headquarters of the United States Army Alaska, in 1947, the post moved to its present location five miles north of Anchorage in 1950. The post then had barracks for 500 soldiers, a rifle range, a few warehouses, a hospital and bachelor officer quarters.
Fort Richardson is now headquarters for United States Army Alaska, a subordinate unit of United States Army Pacific, and for United States Army Garrison, Fort Richardson, which provides mission and installation support for USARAK’s combat forces stationed there.
The major combat unit at Fort Richardson is the 4th Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. The recently activated brigade was formed around Task Force 1-501 Airborne, which deployed to Afghanistan October 2003 through July 2004.
At the time of its deployment, 1-150st was the only airborne infantry battalion in the Pacific Theater. The soldiers of the 4-25th returned from a successful tour of duty in Operation Iraqi Freedom in December 2007.
A full range of family and Soldier support facilities common to any small community are found on post, from a shoppette to childcare and recreational facilities. The post has a small but modern dental and medical clinics, and receives major medical services from the 3rd Medical Group hospital at Elmendorf Air Force Base. The Joint Military Mall located between Fort Richardson and Elmendorf provides Post Exchange and commissary services.
Another major tenant organization is the Alaska National Guard, with facilities at Camp Carroll and Camp Denali. Fort Richardson also hosts several non-military activities to include a Veterans Administration National Cemetery and state of Alaska Fish Hatchery.
As of June 2008, Fort Richardson was home to 5,814 Soldiers, with more than 8,300 family members here with their Soldiers. The Fort employees more than 1,200 Army and Department of Defense civilian employees.
The fort encompasses 62,000 acres, which includes space for offices, family housing, a heliport, a drop zone suitable for airborne and air/land operations, firing ranges and other training areas.
Nearby mountain ranges offer Soldiers the opportunity to learn mountain/glacier warfare and rescue techniques.
Fort Richardson’s nearest neighbor is Alaska’s largest city, Anchorage, population 277,000. North of post are the communities of Chugiak/Eagle River, Wasilla and Palmer.
Fort Richardson will combine with Elmendorf Air Force Base as a joint base in 2010, in accordance with 2005 Base Realignment and Closure recommendations which became law November 9, 2005.
This information obtained from The Army in Alaska Installation Guide www.usarak.army.mil
On August 12, 2008 at 1400 HRS on Pershing Field, at Fort Richardson, Alaska and to the strains of the cavalry song Garry Owen (played by the post band) the famed 545th Military Police Company was reactivated as per DA Permanent Order APOP 37-10. Sadly the unit is no longer with the 1st Cavalry Division as that is where the units heritage lies, but the new assignment to the Arctic Military Police Battalion (Provisional) is a good one. The unit is commanded by LTC Howard Hunt who is a great MP officer. Keeping with the Cavalry traditions of the 545th MP Co, the Provost Marshal General, BG Rodney L. Johnson and the Provost Command Sergeant Major, CSM Freddie L.T. Brock who are both veterans of the unit and also members of the unit association were present at the ceremony wearing their Stetsons. It was a beautiful day for a ceremony with clear blue skies and a temperature of about 65 degrees. I discovered that many of the members of this unit are veterans of the old cavalry 545th at Ft Hood, Texas so I feel positive that the cavalry traditions will be continued as in the past.
After several months of extensive preparation and a trip to the National Training Center in the desert of California, the 545th once again deployed to Iraq on 28 May 2009 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 09 – 10. The unit was deployed with the Command Element and HQS Platoon at LSA Anaconda, 1st Platoon at COB Speicher/FOB Bernstein, 2nd Platoon at FOB Summer all and the 3rd Platoon at FOB Warhorse
CPT Mixon and 1SG Dementer with Guidon during the deployment ceremony 2009.
CPT Mixon and Guidon bearer, 2009.
Provost Command Sergeant Major Freddie Brock, PMG Rod Johnson
and CPT Sam Reinert at the 545th MP Company activation ceremony at Fort Richardson.
As CPT Reinert handed the Vietnam streamers to the PMG, LTC Hunt said quietly “You’re having a great day Captain!”
which got a great smile out of the PMG and CPT Sullivan on the day of activation.
CPT Mixon with Guidon at Ft Richardson 2009.
1SG Wilkerson, 1SG 545th MP Co; CPT Sullivan, CMDR 545th MP Co; LTC Hunt, CMDR, Arctic MP BN
and PMG Johnson review the newly reactivated 545th MP Company at Fort Richardson.
PMG Rod Johnson and soon to be 1SG Connie Dementer
in front of post HQS, Ft Richardson, Alaska on the day of reactivation for the 545th MP Co.
CPT Sam Reinert who commanded the 545th in Vietnam (on the left), CPT Brian Sullivan and 1SG Lavander Wilkerson on the far right and other members of the 545th MP Company cut the cake at the reactivation ceremony. Note both the Cav and Polar Bear patches on the cake.
On July 7, 2010, the 545th Military Police Company, 793rd MP Battalion uncased it’s Guidon on Spartan Field at Fort Richardson, Alaska which signifies the return from combat of the 545th MP Company for the first time since they were no longer with the 1st Cavalry Division and signifies the completion of a successful deployment to Iraq and reintegration into U.S. Army Alaska.
A Change of Command Ceremony was held at Fort Richardson, Alaska on October 13, 2010 which took place on the Arctic Spartan Field
CPT Mixon and CPT Randolph face each other as they prepare to pass the Guidon and the Command from CPT Mixon to CPT Randolph
PFC Crenshaw proudly holds the 545th MP Company Guidon
and is about to hand it over to ISG Ivacic at Fort Richardson, Alaska 2010
A Change of Responsibility Ceremony was held at Fort Richardson, Alaska on June 17, 2011
From left to right 1SG Solomon, CPT Randolph and 1SG Ivacic
1SG Ivacic giving the NCO Sword to CPT Randolph in his final act as 1SG
CPT Randolph giving 1SG Solomon the NCO Sword charging him with the responsibility as 1SG
US ARMY USARAK - 545TH MP'S Link Below
Many of the photo's in this Tab were taken by Mrs. Sanney Allais, the official photographer for the Arctic MP Battalion.
545th Military Police Challenge Coin
A very rare challenge coin minted for award by the BN CMDR of the Arctic MP BN to 545th MPs
Current challenge coins issued by CPT Mixon and ISG Dementer.
This is the proof for our brand new Association Challenge Coin
Click on the Video to enter the 545th MP Co, Activation Ceremony.
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545th Military Police Company Deployment Ceremony
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545th MP Co, Fort Richardson, Alaska, Taser Certification Training