An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

NEWS | Nov. 2, 2021

Warrior and Family Services support Alaska Guardsmen and families

By Spc. Grace Nechanicky Joint Force Headquarters Public Affairs

As citizen-Soldiers and Airmen, members of the Alaska National Guard train continuously to stay prepared to protect the state and nation during a multitude of circumstances – from devastating earthquakes to international pandemics, or even overseas deployments in support of the United States’ federal missions. But who can our Guardsmen turn to when they or their families are in need of support themselves? The one-stop resource for all needs of Guard members and their families is Warrior and Family Services.
 
“[Warrior and Family Services has a goal to] educate and empower our Guard members and families to develop skills and encourage behaviors that strengthen self-reliance, promote retention, and enhance readiness within the Alaska National Guard and their communities,” said Octavia Thompson, the state Family Program director.
 
WFS consists of 12 programs and a few dozen staff members who provide a network of programs designed to facilitate those goals. There are Family Assistance Centers located on JBER, the Alcantra Armory in Wasilla, and in Juneau, Fairbanks and Fort Greely.
 
Of the programs supported by WFS, one in particular has a focus on supporting military children and bringing families together: the Child & Youth Program.
 
“In this program, we’re here to provide support for every single member of the family.” said Ciera Bell, the lead Child & Youth Program coordinator, “It’s just all about the families.”
 
This year, to maintain the spirits and joy of the military children and their families, the Child & Youth Program hosted a Halloween event at the Alaska National Guard’s armory on base Oct. 30. During this annual event, children were given treats and options for crafts and games during a movie screening.
 
“It’s been a really hard two years for everyone, so we wanted to just help alleviate that pressure of being in the house and not knowing what to do for your youth,” said Bell. “Especially with Halloween, which is such a huge kid-oriented event.”
 
Execution of events like this one often take upwards of a month for planning and coordination, with COVID-19 adding additional challenges to the process. Overall, the goal is to connect families and Guard members while taking mindful safety precautions.
 
“I think we pretty much succeeded at making it happen while keeping social distancing and other safety measures in effect,” Bell concluded. “I think everyone had a great time.”
 
For more information about the resources offered by the Alaska National Guard’s Warrior and Family Services, to include more information on the Child & Youth Program, visit the link below:
https://ak.ng.mil/Resources/Warrior-and-Family-Services/
 
Bethel Readiness Center dedicated to local veteran, distinguished leader in community
March 19, 2024
Bethel Readiness Center dedicated to local veteran, distinguished leader in community

Alaska, Maine Guard Conduct Disaster Preparation Exercise
March 13, 2024
Alaska and Maine National Guardsmen offload from a 176th Wing C-17 Globemaster III while supporting Exercise Vigilant Guard 2024-2 (Alaska) at Merle K. “Mudhole” Smith Airport, Cordova, Alaska, March 5, 2024.

Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge
February 22, 2024
Alaska Air National Guardsman volunteers as JROTC drill judge

Bison Company’s cold weather training triumphs in Bethel
February 7, 2024
Bison Company, 1st Battalion, 297th Infantry Regiment, demonstrated readiness and resilience during their cold weather training in Bethel, Alaska, February 2-4, 2024.
This training marked a significant reunion for the Alaska Army National Guard infantry unit in Bethel, emphasizing the city's importance as a training ground that challenges Soldiers to adapt and excel in real-world scenarios.

Alaska Naval Militia, U.S. Navy Reserve pay tribute to S-26 submariners
January 24, 2024
In a solemn gathering at the U.S. Navy Reserve Center on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, sailors from the Alaska Naval Militia and U.S. Navy Reserve assembled Jan. 24, to pay homage to their fallen comrades lost 82 years ago.

Aircraft maintenance Airmen critical part of Pave Hawk transport mission
January 11, 2024
Airmen from the Alaska Air National Guard 176th Aircraft Maintenance from Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, and the active duty 718th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron from Kadena Air Base, Japan, conducted a joint operation to transport an HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter from Bethel to JBER in early January 2024.

Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus spreads holiday cheer to remote communities
December 5, 2023
Alaska Air National Guard pilots 1st Lt. Skylar Caldwell, left, and Capt. Gerren Blair, and loadmaster, Tech Sgt. John Teamer II, enjoy time with Santa and Mrs. Claus while flying the festive couple to Bethel during Operation Santa Claus Nov. 15, 2023.

Alaska Military Youth Academy honored with Gold Pan Award
November 22, 2023
The Anchorage Chamber of Commerce hosted the 66th Annual Gold Pan Awards on Nov. 17, 2023, at the Dena'ina Center in Anchorage.

Alaska National Guard's Operation Santa Claus makes a lifesaving detour
November 16, 2023
From the left, Holly Demert and Clifton Dalton, both flight paramedics with LifeMed, and Chief Warrant Officer 3 Bryan Kruse, Bethel Army Aviation Operating Facility commander, move a critically ill patient from an AKARNG UH-60L Black Hawk helicopter to an ambulance during a medical evacuation from Napaskiak to Bethel, Nov. 15, 2023

Cadets soar in Civil Air Patrol search and rescue exercise
November 13, 2023
Civil Air Patrol Lt. Col. Stephen Sammons, left, Alaska Wing emergency services officer, instructs CAP cadets from the Southcentral Region where to find an Emergency Locator Transmitter onboard a Cessna 172 aircraft during a three-day training event Nov. 4, 2023, at the Birchwood Airport in Chugiak, Alaska.