Top Five Coolest Military Installations in Alaska

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Throughout its history, Alaska has been an enormously important strategic location for the U.S. military. In fact, in World War II, the government built early warning radar systems whose purpose it was to monitor the Soviet Union. If the USSR launched an attack, Alaska was the first line of defense in its path. Many of these systems are now abandoned. However, with upgrades, some remain. Those that weren’t upgraded were either demolished or replaced with something even more interesting. Here are the top five coolest military installations in Alaska.

1) Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Detachment
Kodiak, Alaska

An aerial view of the runway system at the Coast Guard air station.

Credit: SPC Jeff Parks

Southwest of Anchorage, and four miles away from Kodiak town proper, the Naval Special Warfare Cold Weather Detachment (NSWCWD) specializes in training Navy SEALs in cold weather survival and advanced forest and coastal tactics. According to Erika Manzano, mass communication specialist for the Navy, candidates sent here spend 48 hours in the mountains, with only fire and a knife to aid them, and navigate through the rough terrain and frigid conditions. After that, they swim 500 yards in 34-degree ocean water only to rewarm themselves once on shore. Designed for the most elite military personnel, the NSWCWD is a one-of-a-kind facility.

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