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Operations underway at Camp Grayling

Michigan National Guard

More than 600 service members arrived in Michigan on Friday, as Northern Strike 23-1 gets underway.

Northern Strike is an intense location-based training held twice a year, once in the summer and once during the winter.

For more than a week, Camp Grayling and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center will be home to nearly 15 units from the Army, Marines and Air Force.

Command Sergeant Major Kevin Palmatier said even with minimal snowfall, the Michigan cold will help service members understand how to operate in artic conditions.

“That being cold and wet, that we’ve all had in Michigan," Palmatier said. "It gets to your bones we say, and you just can’t get rid of it. And fighting through that and learning how to use your equipment properly while in those conditions will still be in effect.”

Captain Andrew Layton is the Deputy State Public Affairs Officer for the Michigan Air National Guard. He said as the potential of a threat outside of the Middle East rises, shifting training focus is a necessity.

“For the last 20 years or so, we were very focused on that counter-insurgency threat, particularly in the Middle East," Layton said. "And so that’s why it’s very important, as we look around the globe at our potential adversaries or potential risks, that we keep training for all environments.”

While the U.S. is not at war currently, Palmatier said this type of training prepares service members for the next potential conflict.

According to Layton, the availability of Air, Land and Sea operations in Michigan will allow members of the multiple branches to work together.

Correction: We originally identified Andrew Layton as a Major. He is a Captain.

Sean Chase is from Newaygo, Michigan. He is a senior at Central Michigan University pursuing a journalism degree.