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.
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. Much of the state is still wilderness, which is one of the reasons why things like this warship wreck are just now being discovered.
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.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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.