2,000 Alaska-based troops in Iraq as Middle East conflict escalates

A photo from the Dept. of Defense shows two soldiers from the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division watching the crowd protesting outside a section of the U.S. Embassy in Iraq in Baghdad on Jan. 1, 2020.

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - A large Alaska-based Army brigade is serving in Iraq as tension in the area increased Tuesday with a strike on two Iraqi military bases that house U.S. troops.

[RELATED: Iran strikes back at US with missile attack at bases in Iraq]

A unit of the Alaska Air National Guard is also serving in the Middle East. A spokesperson for the 176th Wing could not give specific location details of the unit, but said that all members were accounted for.

Two thousand soldiers from Fort Wainwright's 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division were in the country as of Friday, Jan. 3, according to John Pennell, chief of media relations for the Army in Alaska. The unit deployed in August of 2019 and was scheduled to return to Alaska this summer. They are part of Operation Inherent Resolve.

It's not clear which base or bases the troops are stationed at. U.S. Army Alaska Public Affairs officials referred Channel 2 to the Office of the Secretary of Defense. Little additional information is being released at this time.

A spokesperson for the Secretary of Defense posted on Twitter Tuesday evening that the department is working on initial battle damage assessments. "In recent days and in response to Iranian threats and actions, the (Department of Defense) has taken all appropriate measures to safeguard our personnel and partners," one tweet read. "These bases have been on high alert due to indications that the Iranian regime planned to attack our forces & interests in the region."

President Trump tweeted at 5:45 p.m. Alaska Time that "All is well!" and that an assesment of the damage is currently taking place. The president says he will be making a further statement on Wednesday morning.

Alaska's Congressional Delegation all said they were monitoring the situation.

A spokesperson for Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, a member of the Armed Services committee, said the senator "is monitoring the situation closely. His prayers are with the troops, diplomats and Americans in Iraq."

A spokesperson for Congressman Don Young, R-Alaska said Rep. Young is "closely monitoring developments in Iraq following widespread reports of Iranian attacks, and asks Alaskans to keep our brave servicemembers in their prayers tonight."

[RELATED: Alaska lawmakers comment on growing tension in Middle East]

Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, released a statement to media as well. In it, she writes that she is "extremely concerned about Iran's latest escalation and urge the regime to stand down from further attacks." She says she will be closely monitoring the situation.

Earlier this week, Alaska's two senators and lone Congressman, all Republicans, said that the decision to strike Iran's Qassem Soleimani was significant.

This is a developing story and will be updated

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