The U.S. Army chief of staff visited Alaska Monday, according to a statement from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, just north of Anchorage.

Gen. Raymond T. Odierno stopped in the 49th state for a broader review of the Asia-Pacific theater. He was greeted by the Army's Alaska commander, Maj. Gen. Raymond Palumbo, who discussed the "enchanting appeal" of Alaska's environment, among other things.

Odierno may indeed have found JBER "enchanting" on a comparatively balmy Monday, when temperatures hovered in the high teens. A visit just one week earlier would have given the chief a chillier reception, when daily high temps were around zero and wind-chills dipped to minus 20 and below.

Other tidbits in the press release:

  • Some geographical regions of Alaska resemble the rocky, mountainous terrain of Afghanistan
  • Alaska's bases hold important training value "Armywide"
  • Looming reductions in Army force, recently announced by President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, will occur over a five-year period
  • Odierno recently published an Army leadership pamphlet called "Marching Orders: America's Force of Decisive Action (PDF)"

Maj. Gen. Palumbo issued an invitation for other Army leaders to train in Alaska's climate, saying that temperatures "at 45 degrees below zero and moving through five feet of snow (can) add to the training experience of any unit."