JBER extends live-fire training, noise advisory to Friday

Tegan Hanlon

U.S. Army Alaska officials have extended live-fire training at Joint Base Elmendor-Richardson through Friday and are warning residents on and off base that they may continue to hear small arms fire and loud explosions.

Since Jan. 28, soldiers have conducted a field training exercise based on real-life scenarios in preparation for a Joint Readiness Training Center rotation in April at Fort Polk, La., said John Pennell, U.S. Army Alaska spokesman.

Officials had planned for the exercise to wrap up by Wednesday, but recently identified the need for additional live-fire ranges, said a statement issued by the Army Tuesday.

Pennell said the Army has fielded a number of calls from unhappy Alaskans about the around-the-clock explosions. "I know they're not exactly thrilled with it, but I think for the most part they understand that we have a mission that we have to accomplish," he said.

Soldiers are using weapons like machine guns, 105 mm howitzers and simulated bombs and firing from all ranges within the base, Pennell said. One range borders Bulldog Trail near Muldoon. And Pennell has heard firing as far away as his home in Wasilla.

The participating soldiers are assigned to the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team (Airborne), 25th Infantry Division. They will be assessed on their combat abilities when they reach Louisiana.

Residents with questions or concerns should call the Army at 384-2677.

Reach Tegan Hanlon at thanlon@adn.com or 257-4589.