• Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Staff Sgt. Otis Lee watches from the grounds as other Army paratroopers come down onto the Malemute Drop Zone. Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Airborne) conducted a mass tactical training exercise at the Malemute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Tuesday, June 4, 2013. About 550 paratroopers jumped from C-17 aircraft during the exercise.

  • Marc Lester, photojournalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Lisa Ross welcomes home her husband Spc. Brian Ross of the US Army Reserves Tuesday at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Ross was among twenty Army reservists who returned to Alaska from a year in Iraq. “It’s not real. I’m in shock,” said Ross about being wrapped up by his wife and two kids.

  • Stryker Brigade

    Roughly 700 soldiers from the Fort Richardson-based battalion of the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team run five miles on base early Friday morning. After the run, the men were released for a two week break. In August the brigade will leave for service in Iraq. The brigade, also based at Fort Wainwright, totals 3,800 soldiers.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Sarah Melson, widow of Alaska Army National Guardsman Spc. Jacob Eugene Melson, is hoping to record a song that she wrote for him in 2002 so that it can be played at his funeral. She had been rehearsing it at her mother’s apartment in East Anchorage on Saturday, January 14, 2006. Jacob Melson, of Wasilla, is one of the four Alaska Army National Guard crew members who died in a helicopter crash in Iraq.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Friends and family of Alaska Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class William Brown follow his casket as it is carried to the Barrow cemetery on Tuesday, August 1, 2006. Brown was burried with full military honors. He died July 20 in Mississippi while conducting a training mission to prepare for war duty in Iraq.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Members of Alaska Army National Guard Sgt. 1st Class William Brown’s family visit his casket which was opened briefly for viewing on Tuesday, August 1, 2006, at a service in his honor in Barrow. Brown’s sister Sharon Korwan is black at center, and his neice Audrey Saganna, Sr., touches his head. Brown’s sister Donna Erickson, facing, is comforted at far right.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News
    Spc. Diego Bakhos and Lucinda Bakhos, right, participate in a marriage vow renewal ceremony on Wednesday morning. Army soldiers and renewed marriage vows with their spouses in a ceremony at the chapel on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Wednesday morning, October 26, 2011. About ten couples participated in the ceremony conducted by chaplain Cpt. Chad Thompson. The 3,500 soldiers of the Army’s JBER-based airborne brigade are in the final stages of preparation for deployment to Afghanistan.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Cari Collins rests and lets her daughters read to each other at their home in Wasilla. While her husband, Cpt. Brian Collins, is deployed to Iraq, Cari has been the sole caretaker for the couple’s four children.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Tyler Hall holds a photograph of himself with President George Bush that he keeps with his Army scrapbook. Hall’s hands and many other parts of his body were injured in an explosion in Iraq in 2003 when he was serving as an Army sergeant.

  • Army paratrooper jump

    A paratrooper is treated for injuries after his jump at the Malemute Drop Zone on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. Soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division (Airborne) conducted a mass tactical training exercise at the Malemute Drop Zone on June 4, 2013. Lt. Col. Chris Ward said two paratroopers were injured in the exercise and were treated on the ground by medics. One was transported from the drop zone by helicopter. He said an investigation is ongoing to figure out the cause of the injuries. “We train up for these sort of missions all the time,” he said. “What happened today was not typical, but it does happen.”

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Driving a Humvee in a convoy near Fallujah in the early-morning hours of March 11, Spc. Jake Lowery and two passengers were surprised by a roadside bomb. The explosion blasted through the front passenger door and killed the soldier sitting next to him. Lowery lost an eye as a result of his injuries.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Crystal Becker comforts her daughter Cierra, 7, as they watcher Staff Sgt. Shane Becker’s casket arrive at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Crystal’s parents Leonor and Michael McGovran hold Crystal’s newborn daughter Cheyenna in back. Casualty assistance officer Sgt. 1st Class Vincent Salmon is at left.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Fort Richardson paratrooper Staff Sgt. Shane Becker is met by an honor guard at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport after being transported on a commercial jet on April 12, 2007.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    The Army conducted a redeployment ceremony for the 3,500 soldiers of the 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division on Thursday, November 1, 2012, at the Sullivan Arena. The brigade, based at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, worked to improve security, detain insurgents, train Afghan forces and conduct outreach in Paktya, Khowst and eastern Paktika. The provinces are located along Afghanistan’s southeastern border with Pakistan. Eight paratroopers were killed during the deployment.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Tech. Sgt. Stephannie Carrier hugs her son Dayson, 4, after her return on Thursday morning. “They’ve gotton so big so fast,” she said about her two children. About 125 members of the Alaska Air National Guard’s 144th Airlift Squadron returned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson from a 90-day deployment on Thursday, September 1, 2011, and on other flights this week. The squadron carried supplies, equipment and personnel in C-130 aircraft to support US forces at Bagram Air Base near Kabul, Afghansitan. It was the largest deployment in the squadron’s history.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    General Peter Pace, right, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, shakes hands with the first person to ask him a question during an appearance at Elmendorf Air Force Base on February 23, 2007. Gen. Pace took questions, mostly related to operations in Iraq, from a theater filled with Alaska airmen, soldiers and guardsmen.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Sgt. 1st Class Michael Waszak and his wife Karen discuss what life has been like since Waszak was injured in combat in Iraq. Waszak has undergone many surgeries and deals with complicated pain managment and the effects of post-traumatic stress.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Sgt. 1st Class Eric Bitzer arranges five fallen soldier memorials before the start of a ceremony to remember five Ft. Richardson paratroopers who died in December and January as a result of injuries sustained in Iraq. Spc. Douglas Tinsley, Spc. Joseph Strong and Cpl. Jeremiah Johnson, all of the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, died after their vehicle rolled while on parol in Baghdad on December 26. Spc. Dustin Donica, also of the 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, recieved wounds from enemy small arms fire during security duties in Karmah, Iraq, on Decmeber 28. Pvt. 1st Class Alan Blohm of the 4th Airborne Brigade Support Battalion, 25th Infantry Division, died December 31 when his vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Lt. Col. William Conde pauses in front a fallen soldier memorial after a ceremony for two Army soldiers killed in Afghanistan earlier this month. The Army’s 4th Brigade Combat Team held the ceremony for Private 1st Class Vincent Ellis of Tokyo, Japan, and Spc. Nathan Davis of Yucaipa, CA, in a chapel on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson on Thursday, June 28, 2012. Ellis died Monday, June 4, 2012, days after his unit was attacked by improvised explosives and small arms fire in Khost Province. Spc. Davis of Yucaipa, CA, died June 9, 2012, when a vehicle he was driving hit an explosive in Tore Obeh.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Cptn. Bob Stratton of the Alaska Air National Guard greets his wife Jennifer Saturday at Kulis Air National Guard base shortly after his C-130 arrived in Anchorage. Stratton was one of about 30 airmen from the 144th Airlift Squadron and the 176th Maintenance Group who returned from a year-long mission based at Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan. The units were responsible for military and humanitarian airlift operations throughout the country. Stratton, who completed two two-month rotations during the mission, plans to take a cruise with Jennifer. The rest of the 55 currently deployed airmen from the two units is scheduled to return Wednesday.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Sgt. Jason Taylor prepares to step out of the Fort Richardson Chapel to play Taps at a memorial service for Army Pfc. Justin Casillas, Pfc. Aaron Fairbairn and Pfc. Nicolas Gideon on Thursday, July 23, 2009. The three soldiers were killed in action in Afghanistan, Casillas and Fairbairn on July 4 and Gideon on July 6. Taylor is from the 9th Army Band at Fort Wainwright.

  • journalist, Anchorage, Alaska

    Sgt. First Class Samuel Ethridge of the Alaska Army National Guard salutes at a veteran’s burial site after placing a wreath. The Alaska Wing Civil Air Patrol partnered with the Wreaths Across America project to place holiday wreaths at the graves of 798 veterans at Fort Richardson National Cemetery on Saturday, December 10, 2011. Wreaths Across America says about 200,000 wreaths will be placed nationwide.