Northern Strike 17: Thousands of military personnel train at Camp Grayling

Northern Strike 17: Thousands of military personnel train at Camp Grayling (Sarah Roebuck)

CRAWFORD COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- Six thousand soldiers, sailors, marines and air force personnel were involved in Exercise Northern Strike 17 at Camp Grayling.

Northern Strike is a combined arms, joint force, multinational exercise that brings together five services, 13 states and six partner nations.

The Camp Grayling Joint Maneuver Training Center and the Alpena Combat Readiness Training Center form the largest Army and Air National Guard training center east of the Mississippi River.

Northern Strike began in 2012 as an Air National Guard led exercise. In 2013, the exercise transitioned to a joint Army and Air National Guard exercise. The exercise is now focused on decisive actions.

Units training during the two week period were spread throughout 147,000 acres within Camp Grayling's complex, which includes land in Crawford, Otsego, Alpena and Kalakska counties.

"We have this great training facility 147,000 acres at Camp Grayling Michigan," said Major General Gregory Vadnais "This is truly unique, it's a rare opportunity to bring the joint forces together."

"This is not only important to Michigan but also to our nation's defense. This is one of the only times really all the different branches of the military get to work together to do live training exercises."

Lt. Governor Brian Calley was at the training exercise on Tuesday and he said that over the last several years, this training exercise has grown from about 400 to 500 people to all the way to about 6,000 from all over the country.

Allies participating in Northern Strike include Canada, Great Britain, Denmark, Latvia and Poland.

Exercise Northern Strike started July 29 and will end Aug. 12.