News Staff Writer
ALPENA - Aug. 8 is going to be a revealing day at the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center. The base is hosting its annual "Northern Strike" training exercises and will have a special invitation-only event to showcase the base and the special mission simulations taking place.
At the same time Alpena County and the Michigan Advanced Aerial Systems Consortium, which is trying to get one of the Federal Aviation Administration's Center of Excellence for unmanned aircraft training and testing will be hosting an event promoting their effort.
Col. Bryan Teff said the Northern Strike training will last about 10 days and its Distinguished Visitors Day provides the base a chance to show some local community members and the media what the training entails. The guests will witness some drills at the CRTC, and then board a bus to Grayling where there will be live fire exercises taking place.
Teff said it is the second year the base has hosted Northern Strike. He said what makes it appealing to the military is that because of Alpena's surroundings, the drill objectives can be changed to mimic conditions or terrains where conflicts or potential conflicts could take place around the world.
"The training is a combined air to ground, but it doesn't have a standard scenario," Teff said. "We tailor it and now there will be more maritime exercises over Lake Huron. It will take place for about two weeks and there will be over 200 special operations designed to meet the objectives. People in Alpena will see a lot more activity in the air from the early evening until about midnight."
Teff said among the missions being held during DV Day will be operations where pallets and personnel will be dropped out of the back of a C-130 and land within the CRTC's drop zone. There also will be a demonstration that will coincide with the MIAASC event. While at the base there will be a remote flight of an unmanned aircraft.
Alpena County Commissioner Tom Mullaney said there will be a lot of people who will be attending the presentation about the effort to bring drone training, testing and manufacturing to Alpena and Michigan. He said there will be media from all over the state, as well as government officials and drone experts.
"We will be showing off Alpena and what it has to offer. We'll be bringing in people who are leaders in the field to show them what the possibilities are here," Mullaney said. "We are hoping with all of the media that is invited it will get a little more national attention and exposure for Alpena and the project."
Mullaney said there will be several speakers at the event, as well as a powerpoint presentation where more details about the county and MIAACS's effort to bring unmanned aircraft work to the state. Teff said the county and the base decided to host the two events so they coincide with one another so everyone can see the potential of Alpena and the base.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689. Follow Steve on Twitter ss_alpenanews. Read his blog, Upon Further Review ... at www.thealpenanews.com