Fort Greely, AK Image 1
    Fort Greely, AK Image 2

    Fort Greely, AK History

    Home to the U.S Army Launch site for anti-ballistic missiles and one of the coldest places in Alaska, Fort Greely was established in 1942 as an Army Air Corps Base, and originally called Big Delta Army Air Base, the Allen Army Airfield. The base was used as a rest and refueling area for American planes flying supplies to Russia, for their use on the Eastern Front.

    After WWII, the site was deactivated for a short period, but later reactivated in 1948 as an Army post. It was awkwardly renamed Big Delta Alaska, but then redesignated as the Army Arctic Center in 1952. The Army Arctic Center consisted of the Army Arctic Indoctrination School, Army Training Company, and the Test and Development Section. All three of these were established to train Armed Services personnel how to live and move in extreme subarctic and arctic conditions, and to test the cold tolerance of assorted equipment.

    During that same time, the U.S Army Chemical Corps-Arctic Test Team was established at the post, and major construction for permanent buildings began. In 1955 the post was renamed Fort Greely, after arctic explorer Major General Adolphus Greely. In the early 1960s Fort Greely was the site of a nuclear reactor, partially for testing in arctic conditions, and partially for power generation in a remote area. This reactor was shut down and removed in a few years.

    In 1974 Fort Greely became part of the 172nd Infantry Brigade and came under the command of Forces Command at Fort McPherson, Georgia. In 1995, the base underwent base realignment, in the wake of (ironically) the end of the Cold War.

    Fort Greely was too integral in the nation's missile defense objectives to be closed, but was reduced in size and some of the buildings closed. All but 7,200 acres of the training lands and surrounding ranges were transferred to Fort Wainwright. Presently, Fort Greely plays host to the Cold Regions Test Center and the Northern Warfare Training center, as well as serving as an essential component of the Ground-Based Midcourse Defense system.