Military units from Michigan, Latvia, Canada and Poland will be active in northern Michigan from Aug. 1-20, as part of the newest installment of Exercise Northern Strike. Exercise Northern Strike is a unique military training exercise because it combines air and ground combat capability drills into one super-sized training exercise.
This year’s headline guest is Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller. An East Lansing native, Neller will be observing Marine training missions during Northern Strike and will be briefed on the comprehensive training capabilities available at Camp Grayling.
An airman assigned to the 122nd Fighter Wing, Indiana National Guard, fires a burst of 30mm rounds from GAU Avenger cannon on the A-10 Thunderbolt Jet at the Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center during Northern Strike 15, July 28, 2015. NS 15′ is an annual training exercise that assesses air-to-ground capability of U.S. Army, Air Force, and Marine units around the country and military personnel from Canada, Latvia, Poland and Australia. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Seth LaCount, 126th Press Camp, Michigan Army National Guard/Released)
Approximately 5,000 Soldiers, Airmen and Marines will be participating in the exercise with the bulk of personnel operating from bases at Camp Grayling and at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. Live fire exercises involving small arms, mortars, artillery and aerial munitions will occur within the Camp Grayling property periodically between Aug. 1 and Aug. 20.
Army ground forces participating in the exercise include infantry, artillery and signal units. The significant acreage Camp Grayling provides allows brigade-sized ground forces to maneuver freely while employing a variety of weapon systems to include: M-4 rifle, M240B machine gun, 60mm, 81mm mortars, and 155mm howitzers. Aircraft scheduled to participate in the exercise include the A-10, F-16, B-1, C-130, KC-135 and the JSTARS E-8C that provides an airborne, stand-off range, surveillance and target acquisition radar and command control center.
Soldiers of Battery C, First Battalion, 119th Field Artillery Regiment, Michigan National Guard, hook an M777 155mm Howitzer to a CH-47 Chinook helicopter while conducting sling load operations during Northern Strike 15 at Camp Grayling, Mich., July 24, 2015. Northern Strike combines ground and air capabilities and brings together aircraft from more than a dozen units, and service members from 25 states and four coalition countries from July 13 to August 1 on Camp Grayling, Alpena and in Rogers City. Northern Strike is the only exercise of this size and scope for the Michigan Guard and integrates ground-based mortars and artillery weapon systems with attack aircraft to support maneuver forces on the ground. (U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Ron Raflik/Released)
While the primary exercise focus is meeting the training needs of the specific units participating, NS16 also showcases numerous Michigan National Guard training facilities available for use by military, law enforcement and related security and environmental organizations.
Media members interested in embedding with a unit during training, observing specific portions of the exercise, or attending ‘Media Day’ on August 16 must contact Capt. Tyler Piper in the Michigan National Guard Public Affairs Office, 517-481-7602 or firstname.lastname@example.org, to make arrangements.