Fort Wainwright, home of America’s Arctic Warriors and also known as Ladd Field and Ladd Air Force Base, was established in the early 1940s. Originally a small cold-weather test station housing a 50-man unit, it is now one of the Army’s largest training areas. The purpose of the station was to test aircraft operations in arctic conditions. However, when America declared war against Japan with the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Ladd Field became a critical link in the Alaska-Siberia Lend Lease route. Ladd Field is listed in the Register of National Historic Landmarks.
Fort Wainwright was named after General Jonathan M. Wainwright. He and his men conducted a gallant defense of the Bataan Peninsula and Corregidor Island in the Philippines during the early months or World War II.
Fort Wainwright has been home to several units including the 171st Infantry Brigade (Mechanized) a Nike-Hercules battalion, the 172nd Infantry Brigade and the 6th Infantry Division (Light). The major units at Fort Wainwright today are the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Aviation Task Force 49 and Medical Department Activity-Alaska, Dental Activity-Alaska and the Bassett Army Community Hospital.