Last year, the U.S. Army redesignated its Alaska force as the 11th Airborne Division, with hopes of creating a tip-of-the spear fighting force unparalleled in the Pacific. The change was done to help create a “sense of identity” among those serving in Alaska, and in part to reduce the incidence of suicide among Alaska-based troops.
“One of the things we’ve found that we think is contributing to what we’ve found in Alaska is that some soldiers there don’t feel like they have a sense of identity or purpose around why they’re stationed there,” said Army Secretary Christine Wormuth during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in 2022. She also said every soldier in Alaska will receive mental health evaluations from a surge in mental health professionals that she is sending to the state for a six-month period.
Now, however, soldiers in the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 11th Airborne Division, based in Alaska, report sexual harassment and other problems, according to a new report
Military.com reporter Steve Beynon has the report that says an internal Army assessment conducted recently of the 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team found “a culture of inappropriate joking and behavior that included sexist or racist remarks, evidence of rampant alcohol abuse, and a pace of training missions that was overwhelming leaders and junior soldiers.”
The assessment of the team was done by the Army’s Cohesion Assistance Team, or CAT. Among the findings Beynon reported from the two-week review:
- 3% of the soldiers reported being offered a reward or special treatment for sexual favors.
- 5% said they experienced catcalling, ogling, or leering in ways that made them uncomfortable.
- 6% of soldiers said they experienced unwanted touching.
- 16% said they had heard racist comments.
There were also stories of excessive drinking, especially on weekend nights.