The complete post guide to Fort Wainwright - We Are The Mighty
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The complete post guide to Fort Wainwright

Snowbirds and cold weather fans – rejoice in your new duty assignment to Fort Wainwright. This northern Army post is located adjacent to Fairbanks, Alaska, which is one of the top growing cities in the country. Alaska is home to the Northern Warfare Training Center and the Cold Regions Test Center. Wainwright’s strategic location makes it a significant national asset and global power projection platform. The post’s senior command is the 11th Airborne Division. 

Overview 

A PCS to Alaska counts as an OCONUS duty move, so your PCS pattern will be different from previous moves. Ensure you attend all out-processing briefs at your losing installation so you know what to expect. The cost of living in Alaska is high. Financial readiness will be key to having a successful experience in this northern state. Family members need to be listed on official orders to accompany Soldiers to Alaska. Additionally, all family members have to complete an EFMP screening. 

Weather at Ft. Wainwright varies wildly. In fact, this post has the largest weather swing in the world. Summers can reach up to 90F and winters can see temps 65 degrees below zero! Don’t skimp on bringing both your cold weather and your warm weather gear. Speaking of cold weather training, check out this cold-weather ops course

It’s also a good idea to invest in high-quality blackout curtains to help you sleep during the endless sunlight days of summer. 

Ft. Wainwright Location

Fort Wainwright is located in Interior Alaska, between the Alaska Range in the south and the Brooks Range in the north. Fairbanks is the second-largest city in Alaska and is about 350 miles from the state capital, Anchorage.

Fort Wainwright birthday
More than 3,500 Soldiers from various units stationed at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, ran in the post’s celebration run for the U.S. Army’s 239th birthday Wednesday morning, June 11, 2014.

Directions

The most efficient and convenient way to reach post is by plane. Plan to arrive at the Fairbanks Airport. Your sponsor should meet you at the airport to help you get back to post. You could also arrive at the Anchorage airport. 

From Fairbanks International Airport – Take the ramp to S Fairbanks and then merge onto AK-3 N/Robert Mitchell Expy. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for AK-2 N/Fort Wainwright and merge onto AK-2 W. Next, turn right onto Airport Way/Gaffney Rd. At the traffic circle, continue straight to stay on Airport Way/Gaffney Rd. 

From Anchorage – Head north on I St toward W 4th Ave. Then, turn right at the 1st cross street onto W 4th Ave. Next, turn right at the 1st cross street onto H St. Turn left onto W 6th Ave and continue onto AK-1 N/E 5th Ave. Then continue straight onto AK-3 N. Keep left at the fork, follow signs for AK-2 N/Fort Wainwright and merge onto AK-2 W. 

Alaska Marine Highway System

If you’re considering taking the Alaska Marine Highway System, please contact the Transportation Office for more information. The ferry boards in Bellingham, Washington and departs in Haines, Alaska. The drive to post from Haines is long – it’s about 660 miles away. You’ll need to travel from Alaska into Canada and back again to make the journey this way. Plan ahead for gas stops, rest stops, and lodging. Be prepared for minor vehicle repairs, too. There can be long stretches of road with no stops along the way. Passports will be required, so plan ahead accordingly. 

Transportation

Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA) offers a free shuttle service on post. The service is for Soldiers and families. 

If you plan to ship your vehicle and you’re on a summer PCS cycle, ship it very early! If the vehicle is going to arrive between October and April, it must have anti-freeze protection up to -60F. You’ll also want to switch out any old batteries. Call the Relocation Office for more information. 

Fort Wainwright training
The Fort Wainwright Fire Department was joined by the Steese Volunteer FD and the Chena Goldstream VFD, both part of the Fairbanks North Star Borough Fire Department system, on June 6, 2015, to conduct medical evacuation hoist training with C Company, 1st Battalion, 52nd Aviation Regiment (Air Ambulance).

Gates and Hours 

Main Gate/Gaffney Road: Open 24/7

Badger gate/Badger Road: Monday-Sunday 0500-2000

Richardson Gate/Richardson Highway: Closed to everyone except special traffic requests.

Trainer Gate/Trainor Road: Monday-Friday 0530-2000 and Saturday-Sunday 0700-2000

Contacts at Ft. Wainwright

Adult Education Centers (907) 353-7486

ASYMCA (907) 353-FREE

Child Development Center (907) 356-1550

CYS (Child and Youth Services) (907) 353-7713

DEERS Fort Wainwright  (907) 353-2195

Emergency Relief Services/Army Emergency Relief (907) 353-7453

Exceptional Family Member Program (907) 353-4243

FAP (Family Advocacy Program/0 (907) 353-7317

Family Center (907) 353-4227

Finance Office (907) 353-1307

Hospital/Medical Treatment Facility (907) 353-4000

Household Goods/Transportation Office (907) 353-1150

Housing Services Office (907) 353-1190

ID/CAC Card Processing (907) 353-2243

Information and Referral Services (907) 353-4227

Legal Office (907) 353-6534

Library (907) 353-2642
Loan Closet (907) 353-4333

MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) (907) 353-6349/6350

New Parent Support Program 353-7515

Northern Lights Inn (Building 3402) (907) 353-3800

Personal Financial Management Services 353-7438

Personnel Support Office (907) 353-2273

Post Office (907) 356-7602 

Relocation Office (907) 353-7908.

School Liaison Office/Community Schools (907) 353-YESS (9377)

Spouse Education, Training and Careers Employment Readiness Program (907) 353-4327

Temporary Lodging (907) 353-3800

Transition Assistance Program (907) 353-2113

Travel Office (907) 353-1166

Unaccompanied Housing (907) 361-4537

Veterinary Services (907) 353-2910

Visitor Center (907) 361-6144

Youth Center (907) 353-7488

Mission and Units

Like many DoD installations, Ft. Wainwright’s mission is simple. Deploy combat-ready forces to support joint military operations worldwide. The post also serves as the Joint Force Land Component Command. This helps support Joint Task Force Alaska. 

Units at Ft. Wainwright include US Army Alaska (USARAK), the 1-25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, the USARAK Aviation Task Force and the Northern Warfare Training Center (NWTC).  ; Cold Regions Test Center (CRTC) and the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron (USAF) are also on post. In addition, there are several tenant units as well. 

Fort Wainwright history
Northern Warfare Training Center Commander Maj. William Prayner explains the unit’s history and how it came to be known as the NWTC to Gen. Tetsuro Yamanoue, chief, Training and Education, Japan Ground Self-Defense Force, during a tour of Fort Wainwright’s training sites and resources as part of a budding partnership between U.S. Army Alaska and the Japanese, Sept. 6, 2013. (U.S. Army Alaska photo by Staff Sgt. Trish McMurphy, USARAK Public Affairs)

Ft. Wainwright History

In 1939, the War Department established Ladd Field as a cold weather station to test aircraft under arctic conditions. Then, in 1961, ownership was given to the Army. It was redesignated as Wainwright in honor of WWII Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright. Gen. Wainwright earned a Medal of Honor for his leadership during the fall of the Philippines in WWII. 

For nearly ten years, it was home to the 171st Infantry Brigade. The 172nd Infantry Brigade was at Ft. Richardson in nearby Anchorage. 

From 1986 until 1994, Ft. Wainwright was the home of the 6th Infantry Division (Light) and served as the division’s headquarters.

As part of the Army’s program to create six Stryker Brigade Combat Teams, the 172nd Infantry Brigade was reorganized to be a SBCT. Then in 2006, the 172nd was re-flagged as the 1st brigade of the 25th Infantry Division. That same year, the 4/123 Aviation Battalion was deactivated and re-flagged as the Task Force 49 Aviation Brigade. 

These days, Ft. Wainwright is home to the Northern Warfare Training Center. 

Things to Do Around Ft. Wainwright

It’s not all cold weather activities when you PCS to Alaska. In fact, there’s a ton to do during the warmer months!

Hotels

Hotels are hard to come by and they’re usually booked far in advance. Plan to call ahead if you’re interested in staying in a hotel. 

Bridgewater Hotel, (907) 452-6661

Candlewood Suites Fairbanks, (907) 328-3200

Clarion Hotel & Suites Fairbanks, (907) 891-7231

Hampton Inn & Suites Fairbanks, (907) 451-1502

Fort Wainwright food
Fort Wainwright officers serve soldiers Thanksgiving Dinner at the North Star Dining Facility.

Food Scene

The Last Frontier doesn’t disappoint foodies and picky eaters alike. From incredibly fresh seafood to locally caught game, there’s something for everyone. Of course you’ll want to try moose and bear and Alaska is known for its salmon and halibut, too. You’ll also want to test reindeer sausage. It’s a summertime staple in the state and no picnic is complete without it! Definitely give muktuk a try. It’s made from whale blubber and tastes similar to coconut. Aside from that, don’t miss out on Eskimo ice cream. Called akutaq, it’s made from whipped fat, snow, and berries. 

Activities

On post, you’ll find the usual activities – bowling, fitness centers, golf, and movie theaters. But when it’s time to stretch your wings and venture out, nearby Fairbanks has plenty to offer. In town, be sure to check out Fairbank’s amazing parks. Growden even has a skate park! If you’re looking for something more touristy, check out the Seward Military Resort. The Information, Tickets, and Travel office can help you plan your trip. Of course, you don’t want to miss out on history and culture, too. So be sure to check out any of the great museums Fairbanks has to offer. 

Ft. Wainwright Housing

Housing costs are high and wait times for housing on-post are long. Call the Housing Office as soon as you receive your orders. Because temporary lodging is usually booked, it’s imperative you reserve a hotel room early in advance.Call the Northern Lights Inn (Building 3402) (907) 353-3800 to speak with someone about reservations. 

As with all DoD installations, you can choose to live on or off-post. Ft. Wainwright’s closeness to several major cities means you might be able to find housing on the economy. The best places to live include Fairbanks and North Pole. Both are relatively close and offer small-town feels with bigger city amenities. 

Of course, barrack living is required for single unaccompanied soldiers in the ranks of E5 and below. 

North Haven Communities owns and manages privatized military housing. North Haven serves families stationed to post and to nearby Eielson Air Force Base. Neighborhoods are varied and feature community centers, walking and jogging trails as well as playgrounds. Talk with the Housing Office for more information. 

Schools Near Ft. Wainwright

Unfortunately, there’s no DoDEA school on post. However, mil-kids at Wainwright can go to school in the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District. Talk with the School Liaison Office for up to date information, including enrollment requirements. 

Fort Wainwright halloween
Families, friends and Soldiers of the U.S. Army Alaska Aviation Task Force provided kid-friendly Halloween fun at Fort Wainwright’s Hangar 5, Oct. 24, 2014.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who gets stationed at Fort Wainwright?

Service members in MOSs related to the command and tenant units get stationed at Wainwright. These include Stryker Systems Maintenance Soldiers, Cav Scouts, Health Care Specialists, and others. 

What is Fort Wainwright’s population?

On average, about 5,100 Soldiers call Ft. Wainwright home. There are also nearly 6,000 family members, too! 

How big is Fort Wainwright?

Post isn’t as big as some other Army installations. However, Alaska is massive, so there’s always plenty to do! 

What county is Fort Wainwright in?

In Alaska, counties are called boroughs! Ft. Wainwright is in North Star Borough. 

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